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Haribo sweets face an uncertain future in the UK after the firm revealed it was struggling to supply British shops.
The German confectioner, which makes popular treats such as Starmix and Tangfastics, blamed the issue on a lack of lorry drivers.
Experts have warned a “perfect storm” has been brewing due to Brexit, the pandemic and a drop in the number of foreign workers in the UK.
Britain's haulage sector has seen a dramatic decline in driver numbers, with the Road Haulage Association (RHA) claiming there is a shortfall of about 60,000 due to a reduction in tests during lockdown.
About 72,000 candidates usually train to become HGV drivers, with 40,000 passing, the organisation said.
But only 15,000 were able to complete training last year, it added.
“As is the case with many manufacturers and retailers throughout the country, we are experiencing challenges with regards to the nationwide driver shortage," Haribo said.
“We are working with partners across the food and drink industry to address and respond to this problem.”
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The RHA has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson warning many drivers also returned to their country of origin during extended periods of lockdown and restricted travel, with the vast majority not returning.
He was also quizzed on the issue at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday.
Brexit is also playing a part in the shortage, according to the RHA, with many drivers unsure of their rights to work in the UK.
Retailers have been complaining for months over the issues, including Tesco and Currys PC World acknowledging the impact.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the British Retail Consortium, recently said: “Retailers are aware of a fall in HGV driver numbers, resulting in minor disruption to some supply chains.
“Supermarkets are working closely with their suppliers to ensure that consumers still have access to the same great selection of goods.
“Government must rapidly increase the number of HGV driving tests taking place while also looking for a longer-term solution to this issue.”
- Boris Johnson
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