Homeworld News

    London Eye: Britain faces a tough winter

    London Eye: Britain faces a tough winter

    London Eye: Britain faces a tough winter
    Profile image

    By Sanjay Suri   IST (Updated)

    Mini

    Britain is facing up to a tough winter where food is likely to run short, and prices are certain to rise. The full impact of the shortages that have hit the UK already are only now being documented. One study has documented that almost one in five people in Britain has struggled to buy essential food items over the last fortnight.

    Britain is facing up to a tough winter where food is likely to run short, and prices are certain to rise.
    The full impact of the shortages that have hit the UK already are only now being documented. One study has documented that almost one in five people in Britain has struggled to buy essential food items over the last fortnight.
    The study by the delivery management firm Urbantz based on government data indicated that the worst shortages were seen in the north-east and the east Midlands, with London a close second. All that came on top of a fuel crisis that left millions of drivers without fuel. That crisis has eased but Britain is running into further shortages of all sorts of goods down the line to Christmas – and beyond.
    Concerning
    With those shortages has come a price rise that has even the Bank of England worried. Inflation dipped to 3.1 percent in September from 3.2 percent in August, but the Bank is bracing itself for a rise. Many market analysts are expecting inflation to hit 4 percent by the end of the year. Interest rates are expected to be raised on November 4 from their current historic low of 0.1 percent.
    Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey has said the Bank “will have to act” in the face of high inflation.
    Several businesses are seeing inflation well above the official averages. Ian Wright who heads the Food and Drink Federation told MPs this week that hospitality firms were seeing inflation currently between 14 and 18 percent. That level of rise, he said, was “concerning”. Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK told inquiring MPs that manufacturers have been facing a 30 to 40 percent increase in material costs.
    Those costs are inevitably being passed on to consumers, he said. Evidence of that is all around, from goods and grocery shopping to the high fuel and energy costs. Energy bills rise significantly through the winter. Households facing the crunch already face worse.
    Haulage
    The further crisis awaiting Britain has been sitting visibly off Felixstowe harbour, Britain’s largest goods port. Ships have been stranded days because they are unable to offload their cargo, in the face of a shortage of lorry drivers to take the goods further inland.
    The government approved 5,000 visas for lorry drivers to come and work in the UK, after a substantial exodus following Brexit. So for 300 have applied, and of those, visas have been approved for 20. Britain is about 100,000 short.
    The lorry drivers at work have been given an up to 40 percent rise in pay to keep the lorries moving. That is set to drive costs higher as those wages begin to bite firms all the way from wholesalers to retailers. About 95 percent of all goods coming into Britain need at some stage to come riding on a lorry.
    Duncan Buchanan, policy director at the Road Haulage Association told MPs that the driver visa scheme was “designed to fail.” He said things aren’t getting any better and that government measures are “not having an effect.” Britain will not run out of food, but it will run short of many food products, and all are beginning already to cost more.
    Christmas
    That’s well short of the cheer people expect at Christmas. This year Britain may well run short of Christmas trees too. Brexit with a little unhappy help from Covid is affecting already how Britain prepares for Christmas, and later no doubt how it will celebrate it.
    There are concerns around the import of Christmas trees, Mark Rofe from Christmastrees.co.uk tells CNBC TV-18. Many retailers are looking to UK grown Christmas trees “and this is putting a strain on the UK market.”Labour shortages because people cannot come in to work from the EU means difficulties with growing and cutting more trees in the UK. He expects at least a 10 percent rise in costs as a result.
    Not least with Chritsmas trees as with everything else is the the difficulty of just getting something from one place to another. That is now expected to hit trees, not forgetting all those gifts that go under a Christmas tree. But Rofe remains optimistic. “Santa always finds a way.”
    Check out our in-depth Market Coverage, Business News & get real-time Stock Market Updates on CNBC-TV18. Also, Watch our channels CNBC-TV18, CNBC Awaaz and CNBC Bajar Live on-the-go!
    arrow down

      Most Read

      Market Movers

      View All
      CompanyPriceChng%Chng