Britons may find festive favourites like pigs harder to come by this winter as industry labour shortages continue to bite, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) warned. They could be in short supply this Christmas as a result of post-Brexit issues.
BMPA chief executive Nick Allen blamed the Government’s immigration policies for staffing challenges faced by many companies.
He said today that on average BMPA members are around 12 per cent to 13 per cent short on staff, with one company missing about a fifth of its workforce.
“Some of the pig processors are having to cut down on how many pigs they are processing a week so that’s starting to have an impact back on the farm.”
“We are cutting back and prioritising lines and cutting out on things, so there just won’t be the totals of Christmas favourites like we are used to.”
He said usual demand for pigs in blankets – sausages wrapped in bacon – reaches about 40m packets, but a shortage of labour to make them could mean production is cut by a third. Supplies of gammon could also be affected, he added.
Meanwhile, a retail industry boss called on the Government to help solve a shortfall in lorry drivers which has contributed to product shortages across the UK.
Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The UK faces a shortfall of 90,000 HGV drivers and it is consumers who will ultimately suffer for this. So far, disruption has been minimal thanks to the incredible work by retailers and their suppliers.”
“Retailers are increasing pay rates, offering bonuses and introducing new driver training schemes, as well as directly supporting their suppliers in the movement of goods, but Government will need to play its part,” Dickinson said.
“We are calling on the Government to rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place, provide temporary visas for EU drivers, and to make changes on how HGV driver training can be funded,” she concluded.