SUPPLY shortages are threatening to hit shops at Christmas next year, business leaders warn.

It will take 18 months to train enough lorry drivers to plug the gap, as 100,000 more are needed, CBI director general Tony Danker says.

He wants ministers to put drivers on the shortage occupation list and rubber-stamp more visas from abroad.

He said: “Labour shortages are biting across the economy.”

Consumers are being hit nationwide as shops run out of goods.

The CBI said waiting times for kitchens and sofas have now doubled.

Hotels are being forced to turn away bookings because they don't have the staff to change linen, and restaurants are choosing between opening for lunch or dinner, they say.

Mr Danker added: “Great economies like great businesses can walk and chew gum.

"We need short term fixes to spur recovery and long-term reforms to change our economic model.”

Keep on trucking

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