UK on the brink of Christmas alcohol shortages
Wine and spirits groups demand transport secretary resolve crisis that would lead to alcohol shortages at Christmas.
The United Kingdom is facing alcohol shortages just before Christmas, a situation that the government must resolve as soon as possible. Wine and spirits groups such as Pernod Ricard, Moët Hennessy and The Wine Society said rising costs and “chaos” in the supply chain have delayed wine and spirits deliveries. A risk that could undoubtedly lead to supermarkets running dry and festive deliveries arriving late.
The communication was coordinated by members of the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA) and they have complained that it is taking up to five times longer to import products than a year ago, with two-day orders taking more than two weeks to process.
According to the WSTA, freight costs have risen by about 7% as delivery companies have had to increase wages for heavy vehicle drivers in order to retain them, causing particular hardship for small companies struggling to compete on wages with their larger rivals.
Drivers and vehicles are increasingly unpredictable in their arrival times, according to WSTA members, meaning goods are not ready or are left waiting to be picked up.
The beverage companies have asked Shapps to extend the temporary visa scheme for HGV drivers, which expires in February 2022, to one year.
They also want the government to step in to help smooth congested freight routes from ports, and to provide more regular updates on how many HGV drivers’ licenses are being processed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).
Miles Beale, chief executive of the WSTA, said, “There is growing concern among our members that unless urgent action is taken, we will fall further into delivery chaos.
We are already seeing long delays in delivery times for wine and spirits, which is driving up costs and limiting the range of products available to British consumers.
The Government must do all it can to ensure that British businesses do not operate with one hand tied behind their backs during the festive season and beyond.”
54% of adults drink alcohol once a week in the U.K.
In 2019, 54% of adults in England reported drinking alcohol at least once a week, according to research from the British Parliament, CNN reported.
The drinks industry association said it takes some of its members up to five times longer to import wine and spirits than it did a year ago. It also said rising costs have been passed on to importers as shippers have to pay more because of a shortage of drivers.
Ed Baker, managing director of wine distributor Kingsland Drinks, said his company fills about 185 million bottles of wine a year, which equates to “one in eight bottles” drunk in the UK.
Don’t drink and drive. Enjoy responsibly.
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