Christmas dinners could be under threat as food deliveries hit by driver shortage

And it may already be too late for some online present orders

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The Independent Online

Last-minute shoppers and those trying to get fresh produce in time for Christmas dinner could be met with empty shelves and late deliveries, road haulage groups have warned.

Britain faces a shortage of more than 45,000 lorry drivers, two drivers’ associations have claimed, and the staffing crisis could leave tens of thousands of people struggling to get their hands on basic groceries.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) has said that there is “a real risk we could be facing empty shelves at Christmas”.

Speaking to the Sunday Times, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) suggested that as many as 20,000 drivers had decided to leave the profession after an EU ruling this year requiring extra qualifications.

Last month, the group said the shortage was a nationwide issue, impacting northern areas like Durham, Leeds and Warrington just as badly as southern locations including Taunton, Slough and Huntingdon.

The FTA added the problem was “not just for Christmas” – but the busiest time of year for shoppers will see its effects most keenly felt.

Meanwhile, those looking forward specifically to the seasonal “treat” of putting Brussels sprouts on their Christmas dinner tables could be in for a shock.

According to a memo issued by Morrisons trading director Andrew Garton, all supermarkets may be affected by a shortage of sprouts that has been brought on by wet October weather.

“Much of the early crop stalks had to be cut higher up the stem due to water damage,” according to the memo seen by the Sun on Sunday.

Farmers require perfect conditions with “cold, dry weather” over the next 10 days if the crop is to be saved, the memo said.

Read more: Just days left to order presents online

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