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Christmas panic: Britons urged to start shopping NOW as retailers warn of global shortages


Brexit Britain ‘firing on all cylinders’ says expert

Due to issues with shipping from Asia, shoppers could face a reduced range of products including best-selling items such as PlayStation 5 and Barbies. To add to the problem, meat processors are already six weeks behind preparations due to labour shortages as a result of Brexit.

According to the British Poultry Association, some producers have already cut the number of animals they rear for the festive season.

The supply of turkeys is set to be 20 percent lower than last year, the association confirmed.

This week, fast-food chains such as McDonald’s announced they had run out of milkshakes and bottled drinks.

Nando’s and KFC also reported a shortage of chicken.

Christmas crisis due to Brexit and COVID-19

Christmas crisis due to Brexit and COVID-19 (Image: Getty)

Shops forced to closed due to COVID-19

Shops forced to closed due to COVID-19 (Image: Getty)

Catering firm Lynx Purchasing also said there were some issues with the availability of potatoes due to the flooding in Germany and the Netherlands.

New visa regulations as a result of Brexit are partly blamed for the lack of lorry drivers and food processors.

However, global factors including port closures in China throughout the pandemic have had a major impact on imports around the world.

Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), warned a labour shortage meant the industry was “well behind” on getting ready for the festive season.

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Food shortages put Christmas dinner at risk

Food shortages put Christmas dinner at risk (Image: Getty)

He told MailOnline: “You’d normally start to prepare pigs in blankets and gammons at the beginning of July and they’d go into the freezer and come out at Christmas time, but we’re six weeks behind and not seeing any light at the end of the tunnel.

“The shelves aren’t going to be empty but it’s hard to see how there won’t be shortages of these things and the choice will get less.”

Mr Allen added the supply of new workers is being held back by the strict Brexit rules introduced when Britain left the Single Market in January.

He continued: “Covid is one of the reasons why people are going home and not going back again but it fundamentally down to our post-Brexit immigration policy.

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European trade landscape after Brexit

European trade landscape after Brexit (Image: Express)

“I try to avoid blaming Brexit – our politicians gave us an immigration policy and it was their choice.

“With a million job vacancies in the country, it’s nigh on impossible to fulfill all our needs.”

Gary Grant, founder and executive chairman of the toy chain Entertainer, added how the cost of shipping from Asia has risen to more than £8,000 over the last year.

He said: “The cost of containers – as well as a shortage of them – is proving very difficult across many industries, not just our.

Stores forced to close due to Brexit

Stores forced to close due to Brexit (Image: Getty)

“What is unique to us is that Christmas is a fixed date, so we are under extreme pressure at the moment to move as much stock as we can but are significantly behind with the shipment of products.

“There’s not a shortage of toys, but what will happen as when we get nearer to Christmas the suppliers will not have to back-up stock that we’ve previously relied upon. So the range of stock we have may be narrower.”

This is not the first time the British meat industry has warned Christmas dinner is at risk due to labour shortages.

Stores forced to close as a result of Covid

Stores forced to close as a result of Covid (Image: Getty)

Back in May, a BMPA spokesperson told Farmers Weekly: “We are hearing that some factories are struggling to keep throughput going.

“As Christmas work nears, this will only get worse.”

James Hook, director of poultry firm Hook 2 Sisters, also lashed out at the Government claiming they had failed to recognise the value of the system of employment within the meat sector.

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