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November 26, 2021

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British festive season faces a liquor shortage

Britain’s favorite festive tipples, including champagne, could fall victim to the truck driver shortage, the drinks sector warned on Wednesday, urging state intervention.

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association said the government must take more “immediate steps” to address the shortage and prevent more empty shelves.

“Businesses are still struggling, and further action is needed, particularly now in the run up to Christmas — a critical trading period for our sector,” the industry body wrote in an open letter to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.

The letter was signed by 49 leading companies including the UK divisions of Laurent-Perrier, Moet Hennessy and Pernod Ricard. It said shipping times were up to five times longer than at the same stage last year.

“Drivers and vehicles are increasingly unpredictable ... meaning goods are either not ready or are left waiting for collection,” they said. “The inability to fulfil orders in a timely manner can result in the loss of business, as products can be easily replaced by comparable products from elsewhere in the world.”

The letter said tax revenue would be hit, along with consumers already facing soaring inflation.


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