A "perfect storm" of Brexit and the effects of Covid-19 are said to be having an impact on supermarket shelves in Cumbria, according to business experts.

The Cumbria Chamber of Commerce said that they are "aware" of shortages of certain items at supermarkets in Carlisle and that staff absences are causing "disruptions in supply chains from food manufacturers to hauliers".

Tescos said that there are “pockets of temporary low availability across a small number of products”.

A Tescos spokesperson said: “We have plenty of food, with deliveries arriving at our stores and distribution centres across the UK every day, and overall availability remains good.

“While there is plenty of food for everyone, we are experiencing sporadic disruption from the industry-wide shortage of HGV drivers and an increase in colleagues self-isolating on a precautionary basis.

“This, on top of increased demand, is leading to pockets of temporary low availability across a small number of products, but we’re actively managing this and our colleagues are working hard to get shelves back to fully stocked.”

A Sainsburys spokesperson said: “We are working hard to ensure customers can find what they need.

“While we might not always have the exact product a customer is looking for in every store, large quantities of products are being delivered to stores daily and our colleagues are focused on getting them onto the shelves as quickly as they can.”The 'pingdemic', being caused by masses of people across the country being advised to self isolate by their NHS Covid-19 app after coming into contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus, is also having a big impact on staffing levels.

According to NHS figures, 600,000 contact tracing alerts were sent between July 15 and 21.

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce’s Business Engagement Manager Luke Jarmyn, said: “The shortages that we’re aware supermarkets in Carlisle are experiencing are sadly nothing unusual in the current climate.

“Figures seen by the Chamber show that staff absences, linked to workers self-isolating after being ‘pinged’ by the NHS Test and Trace app, is averaging at 10 per cent, and is as high as 30 per cent in certain areas although none of them are in Cumbria.

“Other organisations such as the British Meat Processors Association and Logistics UK are in agreement with us that staff absences are causing disruptions in supply chains from food manufactures to hauliers.“Unfortunately it is ill-advised to try and disentangle Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic as to what is more of a problem. What we are seeing is what has been referred to as “the perfect storm” of the two, between a shrinking available workforce including around 25,000 EU truckers returning to the continent post-Brexit and those left being compromised by the sensible NHS regulations.

“We have forewarned the government on the labour and skills shortage and re-iterate that what we need to see is the UK government offering short-term Australian style work visas, bring the Turing Scheme in instantly rather than wait until September as well as getting a better arrangement with the EU so businesses don’t have to meet the current high threshold of £28,000 per role to access staff from the continent.”