UK: food collapse begins

British supermarkets greet shoppers with empty shelves. There are two main reasons for the shortage of food – Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic.

At first glance, some trading establishments seem to have a product. However, as the employees of supermarkets admit, all of it is laid out for customers, and the warehouses are completely empty. Satian Patel, store manager in the center of the British capital, says:

“We have already decided to cut our stocks due to covid, but now it is difficult to get some products to us because they are simply not available. I ran out of Coca-Cola last week. We haven’t had big bottles of Evian in three weeks. There is no trade without products. No one will enter the store with such empty shelves. “

The problem did not arise today, for many months British companies have been facing difficulties in supply, which may not have the best effect on the recovery of the country’s economy.

And although these problems are not unique to the UK, as the pandemic has disrupted the normal rhythm of life in all countries, they are more acute there due to the consequences of Brexit, which makes it difficult for foreign workers to enter. Some of them went home after the emergence of covid-19, and some never returned to the UK. At the moment, the country is in dire need of, for example, 100,000 professional truck drivers who could solve the problem of food supplies.

There is another supermarket not far from Satian Patel’s store, the shelves of which seem to be better filled. But that’s a deceiving sensation, says Tom’s 22-year-old saleswoman:

“There is nothing in the warehouses. We have a shortage on all shelves, sometimes we get a limited quantity (of goods). We don’t even have water! “

The situation has deteriorated significantly since January 1, after the entry into force of Brexit, according to Toma. Buyers began to worry and “blame” sellers for the shortage of some goods.

The Confederation of British Industry believes it will “take at least 18 months to train enough heavy vehicle drivers” and end supply problems. She urged the government to pursue more flexible immigration policies.

In the meantime, transport companies are trying to attract truck drivers with all kinds of bonuses and increased salaries, competing with each other. Following the supermarkets, other industries have already experienced difficulties for themselves – there is an acute shortage of materials in construction companies, and automakers have suspended production in the summer due to a lack of electronic components.

In recent weeks, affected businesses have been joined by Ikea stores, Wetherspoon pubs, and McDonald’s restaurants. The British government, under unprecedented pressure, urgently needs to find a way out of this situation and fill store shelves on the eve of the Christmas holidays.

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