Increasing trade barriers after Brexit and a drop in manpower due to the departure of European immigrants, further intensified by the Covid-19 pandemic, have disrupted the production and distribution of some essential goods. Food shortages are one of the new problems facing Boris Johnson’s cabinet. Experts predict that as the current trend continues, the UK will face severe famine and shortages of goods and foodstuffs in the next few months.
The Critical Situation of Food Distribution Companies
Food distribution companies in the UK say the industry is now in crisis. The founder and owner of one of the country’s largest food producers said the industry is at “crisis point”. Ranjit Singh Boparan, of the 2 Sisters Food Group, said the pingdemic was “masking” other issues, including Brexit -related shortages and Covid troubles.
Government Decision to Control the Crisis
Boris Johnson’s cabinet has been forced to make an emergency decision to address labour shortages and control the crisis in the food industry, exempting workers from forced isolation. In an effort to combat the shortage, the government is exempting some 10,000 food workers from isolation, but only if they have been vaccinated or had a negative PCR test. Under current laws, those who have Covid symptoms or have been in contact with someone with a positive Covid-19 test must be isolated for at least ten days. This has created many problems, especially for the food production and distribution industry.
New Immigration Law Problematic for UK Food Industry
Before Brexit , seasonal or permanent workers in the food industry usually came to work in the UK from European countries to make up for workforce shortages. Food producers believe that without the immediate help and intervention of the government, empty food shelves will soon be seen in stores. British industry is now threatened by two types of shortages: a shortage of manpower and a shortage of goods. Both of these deficiencies are the result of leaving the EU, which is now exacerbated by Covid. The New British immigration system now only allows skilled workers to enter the country. This has been catastrophic for food producers who need seasonal and unskilled labour. Some British executives believe that Boris Johnson’s government should reconsider the list of jobs the country needs.
Losses and Closures of UK Car Factories
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has announced that 69,097 vehicles will be produced this year, which is less than last year. Annual car production in the UK this year is down by -38.4% from a five-year average. A few days ago, Honda closed its car factory in Swindon after 35 years.
Japan had chosen UK as a bridge to the European car market, which is no longer relevant after Brexit. The production capacity of this factory was 150,000 units per year. In addition to Honda, manufacturers and suppliers of parts are also leaving the UK. Closure of the Honda production line is considered a turning point in the British car industry.
Gasoline Supply Crisis Due to Labour Shortages
Following the crisis of labour shortages due to Brexit, a surge in Covid-19 cases has now become even more acute and is causing problems for British stores. Petrol stations have announced that they will not be able to provide fuel for some of their stops. BP has stated that it will not be able to supply the fuel needed for some petrol stations. The company blames the shortage of tanker drivers for the problem. As in other cases, one of the main reasons for this is that drivers must unexpectedly go into isolation if they come into contact with a Covid infected person.
New Government Software Leads to Depleted Food and Petrol Resources
Boris Johnson’s government has recently released an app which forces people to isolate themselves for 10 days if they encounter a person infected with Covid, but the outcome has been a shortage of food and petrol in the country. The NHS Test and Trace (NHSTT) system can notify people who have been in contact with an infected person. People should isolate at home for 10 days immediately after receiving the warning. Failure to comply with these regulations will result in heavy fines. About 50,000 people in the UK are now infected with coronavirus on a daily basis.
Between July 8 and 14, the system alerted more than 620,000 people and asked them to isolate themselves. People have installed the app on their smartphones and must isolate themselves for 10 days if it is determined that they have encountered a Covid patient, but it seems that the operation of this app is creating a huge problem, leading to shortages of food and petrol in the country. It has the potential to have a serious negative impact on the performance of the economy.
The policy of tracking and prosecuting people infected with Covid-19 has disrupted the country’s supply chain system, and many essential sectors of the economy, including food production and fuel distribution, are now short of workers.
Shortages of 100,000 Truck Drivers in the UK
The large number of people warned by the National Covid-19 Testing & Tracing Action Plan has left stores short of workers and unable to fill shelves. The shortage of truck drivers along with the shortage of workers in stores has exacerbated the situation. The shortage of truck drivers was felt even before the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Rod McKenzie, from the Road Haulage Association (RHA), there is now a shortage of 100,000 truck drivers, 20,000 of whom were EU citizens who have now left the country. According to him, the increase in customs regulations has made European drivers reluctant to transport cargo to the UK. He says that even if it was not for pandemic, the country would still face a shortage of truck drivers.
The UK Faces a Shortage of Dairy Products
Dairy giant Arla, which supplies milk to major UK supermarkets, has said a shortage of truck drivers has forced it to cut back on its deliveries. UK Managing Director Ash Amirahmadi said the company normally supplied 2,400 stores a day, but has been experiencing driver shortages since early April. “Last Saturday, there were 600 stores that we couldn’t deliver milk to,” he told the BBC. He warned of a summer of unrest and urged the government to act. “It is very worrying for customers when they walk into stores and find that the shelves are empty,” he said. Tesco, the largest supermarket chain in the UK, announced a £1,000 joining bonus for new drivers who sign up before September to help address its shortages. In addition to making food imports more difficult, UK’s exit from the EU has drastically reduced the workforce in the industry.
Shortages of goods and foodstuffs have become a serious problem since the UK left the EU. Cumbersome customs laws and prolonged border inspections are one of the most important factors influencing shortages in the country.
Pingdemic regulations have also led to a shortage of labour and, consequently, a lack of proper distribution of goods, especially food. It seems that if the government does not provide a solution in the coming days, the problem will become more widespread over time and cause great damage to the UK economy and food chain.