Christmas could be a little less merry this year, with wine manufacturers warning that lorry driver shortages will push up prices of the alcoholic drink and impact its supply.
Robert Foye, chief executive at Accolade Wines which makes Hardys and is the fifth largest wine company in the world, told the BBC: “These shortages, if they continue, could definitely impact Christmas. We are trying to get ahead of it, but it does depend on the situation for the entire transport and trucking industry in the UK.”
Mr Foye added: “Staff shortages are definitely there and there’s a whole new group of employees that need to be trained, from truck drivers to restaurant staff.”
Companies across the retail, transport and hospitality sectors are dealing with a shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers and an estimated shortfall of 100,000 staff due to Brexit and Covid-19.
Majestic Wines also said that they have had some issues with supply from Europe “particularly with the movement of freight from some key regions”.
But a Majestic spokesperson said they are mitigating disruption by bringing in an extra £10m of stock now, ahead of the Christmas period.
“We are confident this will mean our shelves will remain full,” they added.
Meanwhile, beer and wine seller Adnams warned last month that the 149-year-old company was struggling with “some upward pressure on wages”, rising input costs, and “some difficulties in wine supply”.
Labour urged the government on Friday to appoint a minister responsible for tackling worker shortages.
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said: “The government must get a grip on the supply chain crisis facing our economy. While they act as if the problem will solve itself, businesses are telling government these problems are only going to grow.
“The long-term problems in the HGV sector will not be solved by making drivers work longer hours but by training workers and improving their terms and conditions.”
Demand for workers across the economy remains high and recruiters reported there were 1.66 million jobs on offer last week, a seven-day increase of 193,000.