The Tory president has said anyone fearing Britain’s worsening supply crisis should end their Christmas dinner, be assured that turkeys will be available this festive season.
Oliver Dowden said ensuring the country had enough poultry to see it through to the new year was a priority for the government, as the number of areas affected by labor shortages continued to grow.
The government hopes an army of workers brought in from overseas on temporary visas will “save Christmas” but food and transportation industry leaders have been quick to pour cold water on the plans.
Speaking to Sky News’ Trevor Phillips on Sunday, Mr Dowden insisted there were supply chain problems around the world due to lorry driver shortages, but said the turkey production issues were being addressed.
“We’ll make sure people have their turkeys for Christmas,” he said.
“I know that for Environment Secretary George Eustice, this is at the top of his list.”
He added: “We are not unique in the UK in this. If you look at Poland, the US, other countries, there is a shortage of drivers – it is related to many factors.”
The government’s central response to critics’ complaints of a worsening supply crisis is to emphasize that the country cannot expect to rely on cheap immigrant labor in the future.
But at the same time, ministers have announced 5,000 temporary visas to foreign lorry drivers amid warnings of a shortage on shelves ahead of Christmas – apparently acknowledging that allowing workers from overseas to come to the UK The solution to the crisis.
Experts encourage shoppers to buy Christmas dinner in advance and keep it in the freezer to avoid disappointment.
“Finally, now I think we’ve run out of time,” said James Withers of Scotland Food & Drink. “I don’t think there is anything that can be done now to get the Christmas business where it should be.
“This is despite warnings since the summer of the scale of potential labor shortages we may be facing.”
Mr Withers recommended that people should “plan ahead” and think early about food that can be frozen to avoid disappointment later.
Credit: www.independent.co.uk /