The situation is not new – it actually happened in August – but now appears to be getting more acute as the festive season approaches: thousands of Britons leave supermarket shelves empty to find a Christmas pantry.
Earlier in the week, according to international media, Britons were already panicking about buying turkeys, with sales of frozen poultry soaring more than 400%. Moreover, the latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that up to eight million Britons were unable to purchase basic foods between September 22 and October 3.
Adding to this data, a recent survey by The Grocer shows that a third of people have already started shopping for Christmas food and drink or are planning to do so in late October. Two-thirds of Britons say they are still concerned about shortages over the holidays.
But this concern is not new. In September, Oi spoke to Portuguese people living in the UK who have already demonstrated this concern and triggered this scenario. “They also say Christmas stock may be affected, and some people have already started buying turkeys to freeze for Christmas,” said Rita Ferreira, a Portuguese resident of Ealing northwest London at the time.
Problems related to Britain’s exit from the European Union or the epidemic? “It was primarily about Brexit but with the pandemic and lockdowns, many European citizens who have held these positions have decided to leave the country for good and go back to their families,” says Rita Ferreira. “Currently there is a huge shortage of truck drivers, but other sectors such as agricultural workers and food production factories are severely affected,” he explained.
Brexit justifies the shortage of workers in the UK more than the pandemic. This is because immigrants were very important in this regard. “The UK has for many years been known to welcome immigrants from all over the world. However, at this time, entry for new immigrants ends up being somewhat limited and bureaucratic,” Henrique Tomé, an analyst at XTB, explained to him in September. However, there is no doubt that the epidemic is also responsible for the current situation.
Paolo Rosa, chief economist at Banco Carregosa, argued that “in terms of migration flows, the current UK labor shortage is caused by a combination of Covid and Brexit,” noting that “the labor shortage will not be just the effect of Brexit, But the fact is that the UK’s exit from the European single market has also contributed to this scarcity.”
He warns: “Some sectors need to realize that the days when more labor was available are over, and employers will have to pay more to ensure the availability of employees. Higher wages can lead to an unwanted increase in inflation.” For the economist, it is clear that “Brexit has caused problems in areas such as transport, hotels and construction, and that British employers are experiencing the worst staff shortages in 25 years”.
Labor shortage is actually a problem that leads to another obstacle: fuel delivery. Remember that recently, fuel distribution has been affected and that panic has prompted consumers to fill up the pumps. It seems that this problem has already subsided.
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