Brits face bleak winter amid fears of soaring bills, bare supermarket shelves and a Christmas toy shortage

BRITS could be looking at a bleak winter of soaring bills, bare supermarket shelves, and toy shortages.

After families had Christmas hopes dashed last year due to Covid, this festive season is looking problematic as shops struggle to fill shelves.

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This Tesco supermarket in Manchester had entire shelves cleared after struggling with stock[/caption]
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There is a huge shortage of HGV drivers as a result of Brexit and Coronavirus slowing the hiring process down[/caption]

A catastrophic shortage of 100,000 HGV (heavy goods vehicle) drivers has resulted in nearly empty shelves in some supermarkets, with fears it’s going to worsen.

As well as food shortages, the cost of living is said to be hiked up by around £1,500 a year per household.

Price and tax rises could cost average families an extra £132 a month in what is set to be the biggest rise in household costs in a decade.

Parents have panicked that they may not be able to buy their children toys this year after an expert warned “Christmas chaos” is about to hit Britain.

This Morning’s Holly Willoughby said she was in a “cold sweat” after hearing popular toys are already running out.

Geoff Sheffield from toy chain The Entertainer warned parents should hit the shops NOW if they want to get the must-have gifts.

PANIC BUYING

Holly told him: “As you’re talking I’m breaking out in a cold sweat here. I’m a parent of three kids, Christmas is just 100 days away.

“Is it good to buy now? Are we just going to bring the panic further is we all go out and panic-buy toys?”

The expert explained that containers from Asia had been commandeered to move face masks and other PPE out of China month ago – causing a toy shortage.

Toys expected to be in short supply this year include Lego sets, including its Elf Club House, at £84.99. Lego is also selling Advent calendars featuring Star Wars and Marvel characters.

Batman vs Superman Scalextric cars for £39.99 are also expected to be in demand as well as the Ravensburger Planetary Solar System 3D jigsaw puzzle, at £39.99.

Soft toys such as the Hoppie Rabbit with Audio Play, at £29.99 could be at risk too.

Shoppers around the country have complained of shortages of food and goods – resulting in huge gaps on the shelves.

Customers were unable to buy popular soft and fizzy drinks, including Robinsons Fruit and Barley, kids’ juice boxes and Fruit Shoots.

Litre bottles of fizzy drinks were also low in stock, as well as sparkling bottled water.

Everyday items that are vital such as washing machine tablets were also scarce.

In Hull, HullLive reported that the most empty aisle of all was the cereal aisle with one large supermarket having just one pack of frosted shreddies left.

Condiments like mayonnaise were in short supply and baby essentials like nappies were completely gone.

The current shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers is due to Covid and Brexit, as well as delays in approving haulage licences.

Before the pandemic, there were around 600,000 drivers according to a Road Haulage Association survey.

Covid created a large backlog of HGV driver tests, so it’s been impossible to get new drivers up and running.

But even before Covid hit, there was still an estimated shortage of around 60,000 drivers.

In a desperate bid to tackle the crisis, lorry drivers are being offered up to £70,000-a-year and £2,000 joining bonuses in order to take up delivery roles for major UK supermarkets.  

Recruiters from companies, such as Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s, are luring truckers with mega pay deals amid a national shortfall of 100,000 drivers.

EMPTY SHELVES

It has meant that those experienced in the profession have been offered astronomical pay rises for their services in order to keep supermarkets fully stocked.

In July Tesco was offering £1,000 bonus to lorry drivers who join the company before the end of September.

But, James Bielby, who is the Chief Executive of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, warned that the crisis will ultimately lead to higher prices for consumers.

FareShare, the UK’s biggest foodbank network, said it is losing out on around 30 per cent of the food it normally receives each day because of the haulage industry crisis.

Lindsay Boswell, FareShare’s chief executive, told the i the lack of food and products is having a huge effect on the charity and puts them at risk of “not reaching the vulnerable people we support”.

The Sun has now launched a Keep on Trucking campaign to help get Britain moving again, which so far has seen applications doubled.

The government is being urged by meat producers to step in and the food supply chain, after the sharp rise in gas prices resulted in a cut in the supply of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the industry.

Petrol prices have also shot up by 19 per cent compared to last year and second-hand cars are nearly as expensive as brand new ones.

A second hand Dacia Sandero has gone up from £10,172 to £12,398 and a second hand Mazda MX5 has increased from £13,395 to £18,995.

Alamy
It appears this Sainsbury’s in Clapham, London has none of your five a day[/caption]
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The cost of living is said to be hiked up by around £1,500 a year per household[/caption]
MEN Media
Cereal aisles were particularly short, with just one box of Shreddies left on this shelf[/caption]
MEN Media
Dry goods and drinks were products in shortest supply[/caption]
Alamy
There is a huge shortage of HGV drivers due to Brexit and Covid[/caption]
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Parents are being warned to buy Christmas presents this week to avoid disapointment[/caption]


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