Families told to freeze Christmas dinner as festive shortages loom – Evening Standard


hoppers should buy their Christmas dinner in advance and stash it in the freezer amid warnings shops could run out of some items in the run up to the festive season.

Retail experts have sounded the alarm over the shortage of HGV drivers to deliver stock to supermarkets.

Meanwhile problems in recruiting meat processing staff has also added to the difficulties with producers warning pigs in blankets may be off the menu.

In response, the government has announced plans to allow 5,500 poultry workers and 5,000 lorry drivers to enter the UK on three-month work visas that are due to expire on 24 December.

The Home Office has said the scheme will be working by mid-October with applications processed in 15 working days.

However, retail chiefs said the system will not kick-in properly before the Christmas rush.

James Withers, of Scotland Food & Drink told The Independent families should “ plan ahead” and freeze what they can as early as possible to avoid having missing ingredients to a traditional Christmas dinner.

He added to the publication: “Ultimately, now I think we have just run out of time,” said James Withers, of Scotland Food & Drink. I don’t think there is anything that can be done now to get the Christmas trade where it should be.

“That’s despite warnings being sounded since the summer of the scale of the potential labour shortage we might face.”

The British Retail Consortium warned 5,000 lorry driver visas would not be enough to prevent Christmas disruption.

Last week, retailers demanded they needed more work force in 10 days to ensure everything was smooth running at Christmas.

Poultry companies issued a stark warning turkeys could be in short supply because of production line workers.

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