Editor: It is still summer so let’s not create festive crisis just yet

That c word gets earlier every year but it is unusual for folks to get into a festive panic before the children are even back at school.

By Nancy Fielder
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 6:54 am
Time to worry about Christmas? Surely not!
Time to worry about Christmas? Surely not!

“I think it’s very easy to make a drama out of a modest crisis," declared the chairman of Tesco supermarkets … and by uttering those words did exactly that.

Our supermarkets could see food shortages at Christmas due to Brexit-related supply chain disruption, John Allan warned.

He should know, after overseeing the country’s largest grocer since 2015.

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He wants the Government to change rules for lorry drivers to allow for more emergency workers from overseas to help solve the problem.

Retailers and restaurants chains, including Nando’s and McDonald’s, have been hit by product shortages as meat packers and other manufacturers have also faced significant worker shortages.

And we have already been warned that if we don’t shop early we may not be able to get our hands on the best festive presents. Bah humbug or what?

Mr Allan told BBC Radio 4’s World at One that supermarkets would normally be building stock now ahead of Christmas and that the “straightforward solution” to driver shortages would be “to allow UK industry to bring in skilled drivers from elsewhere”.

He added: “We are very short of drivers, it’s a combination of many EU drivers having decided to go home and also the ageing age-profile.

“I think certainly Brexit has been a contributor to that but also improving economies, higher wages in some of the countries that they’ve come from historically, have also led to that flow.”

He said there could be some shortages as a result but stressed it is important not to “over-dramatise” the extent of the issue yet.

He said: “At the moment we’re running very hard just to keep on top of the existing demand and there isn’t the capacity to build stocks that we’d like to see. The reason for sounding the alarm now is that we've already had one Christmas cancelled at the last minute. I'd hate this one to be problematic as well."

Anybody fancy enjoying the August bank holiday before we start worrying about December?