Brexit options are exacerbating Britain’s fuel and food shortages

Specifically, it shaped the UK government’s Brexit – which introduced strict immigration policies and took Britain out of the EU market for goods and energy, making it more difficult for British companies to hire European workers and much more expensive for them to do business with them. . The country’s largest trading partner.

Meanwhile, the UK government’s post-Brexit immigration system is designed to reduce the numbers of unskilled workers coming into Britain and end what the government has described as the country’s “reliance on cheap, low-skilled labor”, despite the local unemployment rate in the US. Only 5% area.

“Ultimately, the government made a policy decision to make low-skilled immigration more difficult,” said Joe Marshall, a senior researcher at the Institute of Government, an independent think tank. He added: “The labor shortage may be less severe if the UK maintains free movement of people after Brexit.”

Britain had a record 1 million vacancies between June and August, according to the Office for National Statistics. Restaurants, bars and supermarkets, including Nando’s, had to temporarily close some locations last month due to staff shortages or because some ingredients were not delivered as a result of a lack of truck drivers.

The adult social care sector is also facing a “workforce crisis” and will need to hire workers from abroad to fill tens of thousands of vacancies, according to Care England, which represents independent service providers.

Supply chain restrictions exacerbated by Brexit mean UK consumers face rising food and energy bills at the same time as pandemic support measures, including government wage subsidies and a £20 ($27) increase, are being scrapped. Weekly Social Security payments.

Chronic labor shortage

The UK government was forced this week to partly roll back its tough post-Brexit immigration policy after thousands of gas stations ran dry over the weekend and food traders warned the country had only 10 days to “save Christmas”.

In an interview with broadcasters on Tuesday, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps acknowledged that Brexit would “undoubtedly be a factor” in contributing to the fuel supply crisis.

To ease the pressure, the government will issue temporary visas to 10,500 foreign truck drivers and poultry industry workers. But industry groups say the measure won’t make much difference, in part because it is unclear whether EU workers want to return to a country that has become more hostile to their existence.

Even if short-term visas attracted the maximum number allowed, it would not be enough to address the scale of the problem now developing in our supply chains, said Robbie McGregor-Smith, president of the British Chambers of Commerce. She likened it to “throwing a thimble of water over a fire.”

The British military is now on standby to deliver fuel amid warnings from the British Medical Association that healthcare workers, including ambulance drivers, will not be able to do their jobs when the pumps run dry, although the Gasoline Dealers Association said on Tuesday that there are “Early signs of an end to the crisis in the pumps.”

Cars are seen outside a petrol station in London on September 27.

Brexit has exacerbated the driver shortage, causing tens of thousands of EU citizens to leave trucking jobs and other professions in the UK. Johnson’s decision to end free movement of workers after Brexit has also made it more difficult for Europeans who have returned home during the pandemic to return.

While many have the right to stay in Britain, Alan Winters, founding director of the UK Trade Policy Monitor at the University of Sussex, said they were made to feel “largely unwelcome” by Brexit.

“Covid was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, meaning things are getting less fun here [for EU workers],” he added.

The mass migration of workers is a major problem for many sectors, which have come to depend over four decades of EU membership on a continuous flow of labour.

“EU labor supply has been halted without a clear roadmap on how to manage this transition without disrupting services and supply chains,” McGregor-Smith said. “The managed transition with an agreed plan between government and business was supposed to be in place from the start.”

newly Grant Thornton Report Commissioned by the food and beverage industry it is estimated that there are over 500,000 vacancies across the sector.

Farms and food factories have had to cut back production or simply let crops go to waste because they don’t have enough workers. This leads to a reduced range of products in supermarkets and in some cases empty shelves.

Empty shelves are seen at a supermarket in Manchester, Britain, on September 22.

“The labor crisis is a Brexit issue, and has been widely reported in the food and beverage sector,” Richard Griffiths, chief executive of the British Poultry Council, said in a statement last month.

According to Nick Allen, chief executive of the British Meat Processors Association (BMPA), many farmers simply did not raise turkeys in the lead-up to Christmas because the supply of labor was so uncertain.

There will be a shortage [of turkeys]Allen told CNN Business, adding that other Christmas favorites like Gammon and pigs-in-blanket (bacon-wrapped sausages) are also likely to be in short supply.

UK bails out US company to prevent food supply crisis

Data from Adimo, a shopping technology platform that tracks consumer interest in 300 brands, shows that the percentage of products not available in UK supermarkets has reached levels seen in March 2020, when shoppers were panic buying as coronavirus cases rose.

The company predicts that by early December, UK shoppers will face worse grocery shortages than at the height of the pandemic last year.

Alcoholic beverages, dairy, meat and frozen foods will be hit the hardest, according to Richard Kelly, CEO of Adimo. “Lack of choice and higher supply chain costs will affect the price customers have to pay for their weekly or Christmas shop,” Kelly added.

Allen said raising wages on farms and in food processing plants to attract more British workers would eventually lead to higher prices. “We all want a high-wage economy…but someone has to pay for it.”

energy crisis

The food price hike comes as Britain struggles with soaring costs for natural gas and electricity, fueled in part by cooler spring temperatures earlier this year, and rising demand from China and Low supplies from Russia.

High energy prices are also a problem in Europe. But the situation is particularly acute in the UK because the supply crunch has been exacerbated by massive shortages Natural gas storage facilities, maintenance work delays and a fire shut down a power cable from France.

Earlier this month, skyrocketing gas prices prompted a major US fertilizer maker to suspend production in Britain, cutting off most of the country’s supply of carbon dioxide to the food and beverage industry in the process. Gas is used to stun animals for slaughter, as well as in packaging to extend the shelf life of fresh, chilled and baked goods, and in the production of soft drinks.

Europe pays record prices for energy.  A winter crisis looms

None of these problems can be blamed on Brexit, but the simple European trade deal that Johnson signed last December has left the UK to weather the current crisis alone because it did not include any deal on energy. This means that Britain left the EU’s internal energy market on December 31, 2020.

“There is no such closeness to cooperation [between the United Kingdom and European Union] on security [energy] “This has left the UK government with fewer levers at its disposal to manage the current challenges,” said Laila Huson-Smith, a senior fellow at Global Counsel, a policy advisory firm.

This includes access to storage facilities and solidarity between EU member states, which contributes to the security of supplies, according to 2016 Report Commissioned by National Grid, a utility company, it found that leaving the internal energy market could drive up UK energy bills by as much as 500 million pounds ($677.8 million) a year.

“Despite the uncertainty, the impact of Brexit on the UK energy system is likely to be negative,” the report said.

Economists are already warning that persistent upward pressure on prices, driven by labor shortages, faltering supply chains and rising energy costs, will weigh on UK growth and increase inflation, which is already at its highest level in more than two decades.

The British economy is still 2.1% lower than it was before the pandemic, and Berenberg economists recently pushed their forecasts for a full recovery to the second quarter of 2022.

By comparison, S&P Global Ratings expects Europe to return to its pre-crisis level of GDP before the end of this year, one quarter earlier than previous forecasts, indicating that the divergent fortunes of the UK and EU economies are already evident in growth and investment. Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, it appears that it will continue.

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