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Thursday, November 25, 2021

Turkeys vote for Christmas, after all.

With the news this morning dominated by fears of an alcohol shortage over the Christmas period (it really is a good time to be teetotal), Ministers are at least breathing a sigh of relief that a anticipated dearth of turkey carcasses might be avoided.

The Independent reports that the chancellor of the duchy of Lancaster, Steve Barclay, has had assurances from the British Poultry Council that there would “definitely” be enough turkeys for Christmas:

After months of pressure, the government relaxed immigration rules in September, making 5,500 visas available for foreign workers as a temporary measure to help the meat-processing industry prepare for the holiday season.

In a presentation to the cabinet on the challenge of dealing with the continuing Covid pandemic and its effects on supply chains on top of managing regular winter pressures, Mr Barclay said that government action had “alleviated concerns over potential turkey shortages in the run up to Christmas”, a No 10 spokesperson said.

Asked whether that meant that British families’ Christmases would not be disrupted by supply-chain problems, the spokesperson said: “Yes, certainly on that specific point with regards to the food supply, that is the view that we have. The action we’ve taken on things like temporary visas has helped alleviate some of the pressures we have seen.

“We know it will be challenging for a number of different sectors and we’re working with them closely.”

Of course there are plenty of other Brexit-related problems to deal with, including the continuing shortage of HGV drivers and the imminent imposition of red tape on exports and imports from January. No wonder we get the impression that Ministers are not so much in control, as fire fighting one crisis after another.
To the other Brexit-related shortages can be added that of vets. necessary to superintend abattoirs. So while there may be enough poultry to go round, those Brits desirous of prime British beef for their Christmas roast may be unlucky.

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