German confectionery giant Haribo has said it is struggling to deliver its sweets to shops in the UK because of a shortage of lorry drivers.
It said that like many other producers and retailers, it was “experiencing challenges” that were hitting supplies.
The haulage industry has blamed the pandemic and Brexit for thousands of unfilled HGV driver jobs.
The government said it had taken action, by increasing HGV driving test capacity and funding apprenticeships.
The problems affect all Haribo sweets, including Goldbears and Tangfastics. The company said it was “working with partners across the food and drink industry” to address the problem.
The Road Haulage Association believes there is currently a shortfall of about 60,000 drivers.
It estimates that some 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the Covid pandemic.
The haulage industry is one of a number of sectors having trouble finding suitable staff as the economy reopens, leading some experts to talk of the UK’s missing workers.
Kate Shoesmith, deputy chief executive of the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, told the BBC last month that before the pandemic, many lorry drivers in the UK had been nationals of EU countries, particularly Romania and Bulgaria.
They stayed in the UK after the Brexit referendum, but started leaving when coronavirus struck, she said.
“They have either sourced work in their home countries or they feel it’s not right to return to the UK, either because of Brexit or the pandemic,” Ms Shoesmith added.
A government spokesperson said: “We’re working with industry and have already taken action on HGV driver shortages, including ramping up vocational test capacity, and funding apprenticeships.
“However, most of the solutions are likely to be driven by industry, with progress already being made in testing and hiring, and a big push towards improving pay, working conditions and diversity.”
News Source: BBC News