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Why chicken and chips may be off the menu after the latest Brexit disruption

Fast-food chain KFC and German potato farmers face interruptions to normal service after a shortage of lorry drivers

HGV lorries in a lay-by in Colnbrook, Berkshire, for their rest period. The Government has announced a temporary extension to lorry drivers' hours from Monday July 12th, amid a shortage of workers. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire/PA Images

It has been a gloomy week on the sunlit uplands of sovereign Britain as a lack of chicken left people feeling peckish.

Fast-food chain KFC admitted that “some disruption” – likely to have been caused in part by the national shortage of lorry drivers, with many returning to the EU since the end of the transition period – meant customers “might find some items aren’t available”.

It didn’t say when normal service might be resumed, perhaps because chips might soon be off the menu, too.

German farmers and processors of the potatoes used for oven chips have been badly affected by recent flooding, and attempts to restock from elsewhere in Europe are being hampered by the current shortfall of 100,000 drivers. Catering suppliers Lynx say that if demand for oven chips ends up being filled by British farmers, “Come Christmas, we could find that the roast potato, a staple of festive dinners, is also in short supply.”

But maybe even that is for the best, since turkeys may be scarce as well. EU workers who normally come over to fill Xmas vacancies are no longer able to do so because of you-know-what, causing shortages across the supply chain.

Ranjit Singh Boparan of the 2 Sisters Food Group explained: “If [we are] short of labour on the farms, we’re not going to get the product. If we manage to get it from the farms to the factories and we are short [of] labour there, we’re not going to get it to the depots.

“If we do manage to get to the depots and they can’t get the staff there, they’re not going to get on to lorries. If we are short of drivers, and they can’t get to the supermarket shelves – that’s another problem. If you haven’t got the people to put the product on the shelves… at the moment there’s several elements that are not working.”

In short: The chips are down and the chickens are coming home to roost as a result of turkeys voting for Christmas.

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