Shortages and price rises this Christmas due to staffing issues and Covid disruption

Millions are looking forward to Christmas but reduced choice and increased prices are on nobody's wish list, ITV News Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports

Staffing problems, Covid disruption and a shortage of components could lead to a more expensive Christmas for many this year, with some items unavailable.

As firms restart after the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic, demand for shipping containers is rising, pushing up costs.

Costs for bringing a container of Christmas goods from China are up 700% since last year.

About 62% of retailers and wholesalers expect their prices to rise in the run up to Christmas, and 59% of manufacturers expect to increase prices, according to new data by British Poultry Council released to ITV News.

Steve Bowles, haulage company owner, said: "Christmas will be more costly this year, there's no doubt about that. It's going to affect food, it's going to affect clothing, it's going to affect toys, everything you can mention, Christmas trees."

Many EU seasonal workers are now unavailable and a shortage of agricultural workers will bring turkey production down an estimated 20%, according to the British Poultry Council.

Shevaun Haviland, from the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "70% of our members were having trouble recruiting the right people, so not only an increase in wages but an increase in shipping costs are putting quite a lot of pressure on members."

Every year, about nine million turkeys are reared for Christmas but farmers are warning that will be significantly reduced.

Toys on display during the Hamleys Christmas toy showcase at Hamleys, London. Credit: Kirsty O'Connor/PA

Turkey farmer Paul Kelly told ITV News: "This Christmas, there will not be the amount of British turkeys in retailers because they're physically not going to be there, because companies, the turkey farmers have made the decision they're not going to be able to pluck them and process them."

A global shortage of computer chips could also impact the supply of some of the most popular Christmas toys for children.

Toy retailer Max Evans said: "Certainly some of the big items at Christmas over the last few years have been things like interactive pets. They'll have microchips that respond to your voice, or touch or things like that. Some of the big hitting Christmas toys that kids are after might have some supply issues."