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Haribo sweet deliveries to shops gummed up by lorry driver shortage

Written by on 02/07/2021

Confectionery giant Haribo has warned a shortage of lorry drivers is causing difficulties getting its sweets to shops in the UK.

The German firm, whose products include gummy bears, foamy fried eggs and cola bottles, said it was working to tackle the problem.

It comes after the haulage industry warned of a widespread UK delivery crisis because of a shortage of truck drivers, with an estimated 100,000 vacancies.

Lorries queue in at the border control of the Port of Dover in Dover
Image: The industry has blamed the shortage on the pandemic and Brexit

The labour shortfall has been blamed by the sector on the coronavirus pandemic and Brexit.

A Haribo spokesman said: “As is the case with many manufacturers and retailers throughout the country, we are experiencing challenges with regards to the nationwide driver shortage.

“We are working with partners across the food and drink industry to address and respond to this problem.”

Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, also recently admitted it faced a shortage of drivers for its lorries.

More on Brexit

Chief executive Ken Murphy, speaking after the company’s first quarter results, said the company was “working hard” to address its shortfall through recruitment and insisted product availability remained strong.

Haulage leaders warned last week that Britain faced gaps on supermarket shelves this summer and an “unimaginable” collapse of supply chains due to the labour shortfall.

In a letter sent to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the industry urged him to intervene and allow access to European labour by introducing temporary worker visas for HGV drivers and adding them to a “shortage occupation list”.

There have been calls in some quarters for the army to be brought in to help shift goods if short-term access to non-UK labour is not allowed.

However, the government has said under the the UK’s post-Brexit immigration system, firms should look to hire domestic workers instead.

COVID-19 has fuelled the problem after many European drivers living in Britain returned home because of the crisis, while it has also hampered the training of new recruits.

The industry letter said intervention from government was now the only way to avert “critical supply chains failing at an unprecedented and unimaginable level”.

But responding at the time a government spokesman said: “Our new points-based immigration system makes clear employers should focus on investing in our domestic workforce, especially those needing to find new employment, rather than relying on labour from abroad.”

 Sky News

© Sky News 2020

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