Iceland supermarket boss sounds alarm over Christmas supplies

Business / Wed 25th Aug 2021 at 01:12pm

THE boss of supermarket Iceland says the supply chain chaos is getting worse, just as retailers start planning for the key Christmas period reports the BBC.

Richard Walker told the BBC he estimated the UK’s shortage of lorry drivers was now about 100,000, with the company itself about 100 short.

Christmas is almost upon retailers as planning starts now, Mr Walker said.

“The reason for sounding the alarm now is that we’ve already had one Christmas cancelled at the last minute,” he said. 

“I’d hate this one to be problematic as well,” he added. “We start to stock-build from September onwards for what is a hugely important time of year,” he added.

“We’ve got a lot of goods to transport between now and Christmas and a strong supply chain is vital for everyone.”

“The driver shortage is impacting the food supply chain on a daily basis and leading to shortages on the shelves,” Mr Walker said.

“We’ve had deliveries cancelled for the first time since the pandemic began, about 30 to 40 deliveries a day.”

The simple solution he said, was for heavy goods vehicle drivers to be added to the UK’s skilled workers list, to help get drivers recruited from overseas.

“These men and women, these HGV drivers, have kept the show on the road for 18 months during the pandemic and it’s criminal that we’re not viewing them as skilled workers,” he told the BBC.

Asked if Brexit is responsible for the supply chain problems, Mr Walker responded: “I think so, but it’s a ‘self-inflicted wound’ rather than an inevitable consequence of Brexit, caused by the government’s failure to appreciate the importance of HGV drivers and the work they do for us.”

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7 Comments for Iceland supermarket boss sounds alarm over Christmas supplies:

2021-08-25 13:36:54

how was christmas cancelled last year, i had a perfectly good christmas

2021-08-25 13:40:22

employ more british workers and stop relying on eu labour, im sick of hearing businesses in the uk moaning about their labour force because a few eu workers have gone home, invest in people that actually live here

Andrew Bray
2021-08-25 14:09:22

Brexit reality.

2021-08-25 14:25:20

All the EU have done is to make very rich people even richer. The only money that filters down to the working man is when they gave us some of our own back. The correct wage needs to be paid , not just costed for with the boss pocketing the difference. I have never understood the passion that EU leaders argue with, what's in it for them apart from tons of money. They are not a nation. Why remainers were happy to fund their lifestyles and support slave labour is beyond me. Working the land or driving an artic are hard jobs and demand a salary to affect this.

2021-08-25 17:26:07

Xmas wasn’t cancelled in my household as long as you all test yourself before mixing there is no issue

2021-08-25 23:04:38

its comments like that have made this pandemic last longer than it should of,you should be ashamed of yourself and no before you ask i spent christmas with the family i live with and no one else.

2021-08-26 06:21:59

Brexit. Yay! Everything panned out as expected... oh, what’s that you say? Oh... never mind.

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