Foreign butchers will be brought to Britain in a bid to save Christmas

FOREIGN butchers will be brought to Britain and red tape on EU lorry drivers torn up to save Christmas

Ministers acted after a flood of warnings that Brits may not be able to get pigs in blankets or favourite toys, such as a Barbie doll or an Elf on a Shelf, this December.

Up to 800 foreign abattoir workers will be allowed to live and work in the UK for up to six months[/caption]

Meat bosses have been warning for weeks that 100,000 pigs may have to be slaughtered and thrown on the scrapheap because of a shortage of butchers.

In a move designed to save Britain’s bacon, up to 800 foreign abattoir workers will be allowed to live and work in the UK for up to six months.

They will be brought here under the existing seasonal workers visa scheme, which is usually used for fruit pickers.

The Government is also providing giant storage freezers for pig farmers to house meat.

And it announced plans to let EU lorry drivers make thousands more journeys here.

Currently they can make only two pick-ups or drop-offs within a week before having to go back to the EU — known as cabotage rights. But the Government is consulting on plans to make an unlimited number of drop-offs for two weeks before they return.

They say the change will free up drivers to make thousands more deliveries.

Environment and Farming Secretary George Eustice hailed the butcher visa scheme saying: “It will help us deal with the backlog of pigs on farms and give meat processors the ability to slaughter more pigs.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We plan to temporarily extend cabotage rights so foreign hauliers can make unlimited journeys for two weeks while here.”

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