More national brands are announcing supply problems caused by the lack of HGV drivers, on top of Tesco and Iceland. Adding to the list in recent days are Ikea, Coca Cola, Costa, Gregg’s, Wetherspoon’s, McDonald’s, KFC and many more. The reality is that virtually every corner of the economy is being impacted. This is from supermarket shelves to rubbish collections, and now wine and beer shortages. In fact, the only way to escape these growing supply uncertainties is to travel to other countries, for example Ireland or France where it seems these shortages are not being reported.
Ikea and wine
Ikea has announced that one in ten of its stock lines are currently unavailable, and that there are particular difficulties surrounding the supply of mattresses.
Australia’s Accolade, the UK’s largest wine distributor, is warning of supply issues for its brands. These include Hardy’s, Echo Falls, Kumala, Banrock Station and Stowells in the run up to the Christmas period. The reality is that the entire hospitality industry is being impacted by massive labour shortages and supply chain dilemmas. In these trying times it would be more than a disaster if our favourite tipple, pub or restaurant was unavailable to drown one’s sorrows.
For Brexit loving Tim Martin boss of Wetherspoon’s, it must be the ultimate nightmare. Some of his pubs have run dry of beer, vital ingredients for meals are in short supply, and labour shortages must be adding to his daily hangover.
But who could have foreseen all these issues?
It is worth noting that Mr Martin was warned multiple times that his Brexit obsession would come back to haunt him. This included a group of North East residents when he visited pubs in Sunderland and Newcastle.
What about my flu jab?
Boots was telling people on Sunday 5 September:
“Unfortunately we have had to suspend bookings for the Winter Flu Jab Service.”
Nationally we are hearing about GP clinics for flu jabs being cancelled.
I received my own invitation for a winter flu jab on Friday 3 September but I am not now optimistic of receiving it for several weeks. This news will be especially worrying for many who rely on the protection of the vaccination every winter.
What are the root causes?
It’s not just Brexit causing the delivery driver shortages now estimated at 90,000 to 100,000. It’s a combination of older drivers retiring much faster than new recruits can be added. Training and recruitment were suspended during the pandemic. This allied with the return of an estimated 1.3 million EU citizens to their own countries means approximately 60,000 EU drivers who are part of the 1.3m are no longer in the UK.
In addition to this, driving an HGV is not deemed by the government as a skilled job and hence it is difficult for foreign drivers to get visas.
At least 18 councils around the UK have reported driver shortages which is impacting on collection rotas.
With the meat and farming industries blaming Brexit 100% for labour shortages, the supply problems enveloping the hospitality and allied industries are destined to continue for some time.
Was Brexit a good or a rubbish idea?
Ask the Wetherspoon’s boss for his opinion!