Shoppers face national prosecco and wine shortage as costs boom at Christmas due to lack of lorry drivers

A TRADITIONALLY boozy British Christmas is under threat, the UK’s biggest wine company has warned.

The country is facing a prosecco and wine shortage due to a lack of lorry drivers – with empty shelves and soaring costs likely over the festive season.

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The boss of Britain’s biggest wine company has warned there’ll be booze shortages and high prices this Christmas[/caption]

Robert Foye, chief executive of Accolade – which owns brands including Hardys, Echo Falls and Banrock Station – says there could be real issues with supply ahead of December 25.

He 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.”

And he said customers must brace for more expensive trolleys this year.

“Ultimately, costs will go up,” he said.

Supermarket bosses have also said Christmas could be badly affected by shortages this year.

Richard Walker, Iceland’s chief executive, warned a lack of lorry drivers is threatening deliveries.

Speaking on the BBC’s Today programme, Mr Walker said: “The reason for sounding the alarm now is that we’ve already had one Christmas cancelled at the last minute.

“I’d hate this one to be problematic as well.

“We start to stock-build from September onwards for what is a hugely important time of year.

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

Tesco boss John Allan said many drivers from the EU have decided to return home – and the UK must be allowed to bring in skilled drivers from elsewhere.

HEARD IT ON THE GRAPEVINE

And Steve Murrells of the Co-op Group said the situation is worse than he’s ever seen.

Supplier issues have also led to shortages at chains including Nandos and KFC.

Greggs is short on customer favourites, while Costa Coffee reduced its menu due to the supply chain chaos.

Meanwhile, McDonald’s halted the sales of milkshakes at its 1,000 restaurants.

Wetherspoon is running low on beer, while Pizza Hut has been forced to close its popular ice cream factories.

Mitchells and Butler, which runs more than a dozen big brands including Harvester, Toby Carvery and All Bar One, has also had issues.

SUPPLY ISSUES HIT CHAINS

Customers at some of its Toby restaurants reported there were no Yorkshire puddings available last weekend.

The Road Haulage Association estimates the UK has a shortage of around 100,000 drivers. 

Ministers have so far resisted calls to issue visas more quickly to drivers.

However, rules governing how long a driver can legally be on the road for before taking a break have been relaxed in an attempt to ease the pressure.

And The Sun has launched a Keep On Trucking campaign to beat the deliveries crisis.

Hundreds of companies are already pledging jobs for both experienced truckers and trainees.

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Supermarket chiefs have warned a lack of lorry drivers is causing shelves to empty[/caption]
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Meanwhile, chains including KFC and McDonald’s have faced supply issues[/caption]

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