Great Britain
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Christmas could be ruined by mince pie shortage as UK is hit by lack of raisins and sultanas used for fillings

CHRISTMAS could be ruined by a mince pies shortage as the UK is hit by a lack of raisins and sultanas used for fillings.

Experts say the shortfall was being caused by a lack of lorry drivers and that prices for the festive goods are expected to rise.

Mintec, a food sales analytics firm, said: "UK buyers in the nuts and dried fruit sector are... experiencing similar issues facing other sectors.

"Supplies are delayed at UK ports or buyers’ warehouses amid the lack of road transport capacity.

It added: "If the situation does not ­improve, consumers face higher prices."

It comes as supermarkets note a 10 per cent rise in sales of mince pies compared to this time last year as families rush to stock up ahead of Christmas, the Daily Star reports.

Earlier this month, shoppers were told there could be a shortage of pies because there were issues with getting hold of their foil cases.

The British Pie Association urged pie makers to tackle the problem by re-using cases rather than throwing them away.

And it seems the festive crisis shows no signs of abating as shoppers face a shortage of elves and Santas.

Fewer new workers are taking up the festive jobs, according to the latest industry figures.

It is being blamed on Brexit, the pandemic and a sharp increase of seasonal vacancies, which has pushed the number of unfilled jobs to 1.1 million, according to the Daily Star.

Experts also point to a chronic lorry driver shortage hitting the UK.

The shortage has been caused by a “perfect storm” of veteran drivers leaving the profession, a lack of new drivers training during the coronavirus pandemic, and some workers returning to EU countries and a backlog in driver tests.

Over 10,000 HGV drivers and poultry workers are to receive temporary UK visas in a bid to limit disruption in the run-up to Christmas.

But job ads for the transport roles have still more than doubled in many regions across the UK.

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