Supermarket chain Aldi UK and supply chain organisation the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) have welcomed the news that 10,500 temporary visas will be made available to alleviate the Christmas rush.

The government has announced that up to 5,000 HGV drivers will be able to work in the UK for three months until 24th December, through the Temporary Workers route. Up to 5,500 poultry workers will also be able to come to the UK to help out with the run-up to Christmas.

On the back of the announcement, the government stated that the UK has “a highly resilient” food supply chain which has “coped well in responding to unprecedented challenges.”

“It’s a start”

Responding to the government’s announcement, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, Ian Wright CBE, said: “This is something UK food and drink manufacturers have asked for over the last few months – including in industry’s Grant Thornton report – to alleviate some of the pressure labour shortages have placed on the food supply chain.”

Wright added: “This is a start but we need the government to continue to collaborate with industry and seek additional long-term solutions.”

“Business as usual for us”

Aldi UK’s chief executive Giles Hurley told the BBC: “There’s no doubt current circumstances are testing the industry…but it’s business as usual for us.”

“At the moment, we’re well set, but I have to say we’re never complacent […] We’re always recruiting, always have done and that won’t change.”

He added: “I think we’re uniquely placed to weather the storm – we have a refined range and fewer suppliers.

“We actually employ more of our drivers directly than a majority of the market and on leading terms and conditions and finally a lot of what we source is British and that means our supply chains are a little shorter and easier to control.”