Experts say turkeys and Brussel sprouts could be in shorter supply while pasta and flour could be rationed to customers during the Christmas period. Earlier this month ministers announced overseas drivers can take up six-month visas and they are planning to have the two-week unlimited deliveries scheme for December.
However, the Government has reportedly said only 20 foreign drivers have so far been issued amid concerns over supplies in supermarkets and containers waiting at ports due to the staffing crisis.
One source told The Sun: “Retailers will be prioritising the essential Christmas gifts.
“If there was a big squeeze of drivers and stores couldn’t get all the things, they needed they will be rationing lines.”
The source added: “So rather than seeing 15 types of pasta you might see ten.”
“Or they might decide they don’t need nearly as much bottled water which is bulky and large in the shop.
“It’s a tough and evolving situation and hard to say what will happen right now.”
Rod McKenzie, managing director of policy and public affairs at the Road Haulage Association, accused the Government of “pulling the lever marked ‘uncontrolled immigration’” and claimed the scheme will lead to EU drivers “undercutting” UK workers.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “The Government clearly wants to save Christmas and be seen to be saving Christmas, and extra drivers will clearly help Christmas deliveries, so, from a simple, populist point of view, you can see what they’re doing.”
He said: “The Government has been talking about a high-wage, high-skill economy and not pulling the lever marked ‘uncontrolled immigration’, and to them this is exactly what it looks like.”
“Allowing overseas companies and drivers to come over for perhaps up to six months on a fortnightly basis to do unlimited work at low rates, undercutting UK hauliers.
“So this is about taking work from British operators and drivers and giving it to Europeans who don’t pay tax here and pay peanuts to their drivers.”
A Government source responded to the comments made by the RHA, telling the Mirror: “It’s a bit rich coming from the RHA which has consistently lobbied for the return of cheap European drivers.
“A screeching handbrake U turn in fact.”