A shortage of lorry drivers is starting to impact consumers in the UK, with many Brits having faced empty shelves and a shortage of products. Now the boss of the Food and Drink Federation has warned the situation is going to get “worse.” Does this mean Britons should brace themselves for food shortages over Christmas?
No 10 has tentatively said it “believes” shop stock levels could return to “normal” by Christmas.
But Mr Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation has said the current supply chain issues could become permanent.
He said in a speech: “It’s going to get worse, and it’s not going to get better after getting worse any time soon,”
He added: “The result of the labour shortages is that the just-in-time system that has sustained supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants – so the food has arrived on shelf or in the kitchen, just when you need it – is no longer working.
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“We have got highly resilient food supply chains which have coped extremely well in the face of challenges and we believe that will remain the case.”
The spokesperson said the Government knew “there are some issues” in the haulage sector because of driver shortages.
But they added they are working to “get more into the industry”.
Pressed on whether Brits will have a “normal Christmas”, the spokesperson said: “I believe so, yes.”
The average age for a lorry driver is 55, it seems younger generations aren’t keen to enter the industry.
Long hours, difficulty to get a licence and poor pay are among the reasons the young have turned away from the haulage sector.
Brexit has exacerbated the problem – it has made it harder to recruit hauliers from Europe.
But the Government has taken steps to resolve the shortage.
They have set up the Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship scheme, which offers £7,000 to help new entrants into the industry.
While some other companies have taken the initiative themselves to entice new drivers in.
Tesco is offering new drivers a £1,000 joining bonus and Aldi has increased its wages for drivers.
Waitrose has offered the biggest incentive for recruits with a £1,000 “welcome payment” and pay rise of £2 per hour.