Supplies of pigs in blankets could be hit by post-Brexit labour shortages

Festive favourites like pigs in blankets could be in short supply this Christmas as a result of post-Brexit issues.

Britons may find them harder to come by this winter as industry labour shortages continue to bite, the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA) warned.

Meanwhile, a retail industry boss called on the Government to help solve a shortfall in lorry drivers which has contributed to product shortages across the UK.

Speaking to the PA news agency, BMPA chief executive Nick Allen blamed the Government’s immigration policies for staffing challenges faced by many companies.

He told PA that on average BMPA members are around 12%-13% short on staff, with one company missing about a fifth of its workforce.

“Some of the pig processors are having to cut down on how many pigs they are processing a week so that’s starting to have an impact back on the farm.

“We are cutting back and prioritising lines and cutting out on things, so there just won’t be the totals of Christmas favourites like we are used to.”

He said usual demand for pigs in blankets – sausages wrapped in bacon – reaches about 40 million packets, but a shortage of labour to make them could mean production is cut by a third.

Helen Dickinson
Helen Dickinson (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Supplies of gammon could also be affected, he added.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “The UK faces a shortfall of 90,000 HGV drivers and it is consumers who will ultimately suffer for this.

“So far, disruption has been minimal thanks to the incredible work by retailers and their suppliers.

“Retailers are increasing pay rates, offering bonuses and introducing new driver training schemes, as well as directly supporting their suppliers in the movement of goods, but Government will need to play its part.

“We are calling on the Government to rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place, provide temporary visas for EU drivers, and to make changes on how HGV driver training can be funded.”