'Shortage of Turkeys at Christmas' due to labour shortages, caller warns

30 August 2021, 15:19

By Seán Hickey

Labour shortages brought on by Brexit and Covid will decimate British supply chains this winter, a recruitment expert warns.

David called Maajid Nawaz amid reports that UK retailers are struggling to fill shelves because of a shortage of lorry drivers. He warned that the situation is more serious.

"Wait until you get to the winter time when there's more demand on ready meals and wholesome sort of food." He began, noting that in his industry, the pool of labourers for seasonal produce work has dried up since Brexit.

Read More: Greggs, Costa and Subway latest to be hit by product shortages

He told LBC that he works with a lot of "small independent growers" and hasn't been "able to supply them with labour" for a while.

Maajid thought the situation to be "a bit like Kabul. If we could see that a month before it happened, you and I would be sitting here having the conversation, 'there is a dark winter ahead of us."

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"Why aren't they doing something?" He asked.

The caller insisted that if the government paid heed to industry warnings, "it would be another U-turn for them."

He hit out at a lack of Brexit preparation: "We've depended on migrant labour now for many many years and to switch that off with no alternative is an absolute catastrophe."

He noted that while bigger players are "just throwing money at it" but "the small guy can't do that" when they're struggling to take up their harvest.

"There will be a shortage of pumpkins for Halloween and a shortage of turkeys at Christmas" the caller predicted.

Read More: Lorry drivers' hours temporarily extended to help fix shortage

Maajid reassured listeners that he will "keep an eye on this," commending the caller for his warnings.

"I think you're onto something here."