Fears of turkey shortage at Christmas as poultry farmers warn of staff and supply issues

Click above to watch a video report by ITV News Anglia's Russell Hookey

Poultry producers in our region have issued a stark warning today claiming the industry is at crisis point. 

Some restaurants serving chicken across the country have been forced to close due to shortages which are being blamed on a lack of lorry drivers and a lack of staff at processing plants.

There's also a new warning that there may not be enough turkeys to meet demand at Christmas.

Bosses at Traditional Norfolk Poultry in Shropham say labour is a major issue Credit: ITV News Anglia

It's claimed the joint effects of Brexit and Covid have combined to create huge challenges for companies like Traditional Norfolk Poultry.

The so-called 'perfect storm' for poultry producers has led to fears turkeys could be in short supply Credit: ITV News Anglia

Across the country many restaurants - like the chain Nando's - have had to shut their doors because of a shortage of chicken.

Now we're being warned that turkeys could be in short supply this Christmas.

Paul Kelly from Kelly Bronze Turkeys says although they won't be too badly affected at Xmas- larger producers will be Credit: ITV News Anglia

Paul Kelly from Kelly Bronze Turkeys in Danbury near Chelmsford they say they've not seen a situation like this for many years.

"We're okay as a small family business, we only need a relatively small number of people but the bigger guys that need thousands of people to come and make sure the turkeys get delivered, they're not taking the risk because they're not getting any support from the government in terms of "you will be allowed to bring your usual workforce in from Europe". That's not happening at this point in time so they're not taking the risk to put the turkeys on the farm, because if they can't get them processed at Christmas, they can't risk putting them on the farm."

Business owners say unless the Government relaxes the rules on foreign workers coming here then poultry producers overseas could take a greater share of the market.