Scottish Daily Mail

5mil­lion ex­tra shop­pers as winter trips are axed

- By Tom Payne Trans­port Cor­re­spon­dent Travel · United Kingdom · John Lewis · John Lewis

AN ex­tra five mil­lion peo­ple will be i n the UK over Christ­mas and New Year, spark­ing fears of shopping and travel chaos.

Around 10 per cent of the adult pop­u­la­tion would nor­mally go abroad for the fes­tive pe­riod.

But travel re­stric­tions and the clo­sure of winter ski re­sorts have forced mil­lions to can­cel their hol­i­days.

M&S and John Lewis are among the re­tail­ers urg­ing fam­i­lies to book shopping slots in ad­vance to avoid lengthy queues out­side.

And Sains­bury’s has ex­tended its Christ­mas open­ing hours amid fears of an un­prece­dented rush.

It came as the AA called on coun­cils to scrap parking charges over the pe­riod to stop shop­pers crowd­ing around ticket ma­chines. The mo­tor­ing group said the move would also help re­vive be­lea­guered high streets.

The prospect of mil­lions of ex­tra peo­ple in the UK has also ig­nited fears of travel chaos over the ‘five days of Christ­mas’ when the re­stric­tions will be re­laxed.

Trans­port bosses f ear re­duced ca­pac­ity on rail ser­vices could force mil­lions into their cars, bring­ing the na­tion’s roads to a stand­still.

And even trains that do run could be forced to can­cel at the last minute as rail op­er­a­tors have warned min­is­ters they may strug­gle with staff short­ages.

Pas­sen­gers are al­ready com­plain­ing about a lack of avail­abil­ity of ad­vance tickets over Christ­mas.

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