UK factories, restaurants and supermarkets are facing supply problems due to the epidemic and Brexit, so call for government help this week before Christmas.
US burger chain McDonald’s has run out of milk shakes and bottled drinks this week due to a lack of lorry drivers, which has caused supply chain problems and slowed down UK business.
Rival fast food company KFC has been forced to remove some items from the menu, while restaurant chain Nando has temporarily closed 50 stores due to a shortage of chicken.
Supermarkets are also feeling the heat, with frozen food groups Iceland and retail King Tesco warning of a shortage of Christmas products.
Iceland boss Richard Walker told the BBC: “The reason for sounding the alarm now is that we have already canceled a Christmas at the last minute.”
“I would hate to worry about it any more,” he added. He urged the government to classify foreign truck drivers as skilled workers so that they could allow more on the roads.
Britain’s powerful CBI business lobby has warned that retail and distribution stock records are low.
Walker estimates that the UK currently faces a shortage of about 100,000 lorry drivers.
“We now have a significant shortcoming, which we cannot address through recruitment alone because it takes time to train lorry drivers,” said Rod McKenzie, director of policy at the Road Hall Association.
“So we need some help to make sure the wheels don’t literally fall off during the Christmas season,” added Mackenzie, who wants short-term visas for lorry drivers abroad.
Cowed helped fuel the supply chain crisis, experts say, as several lockdowns signaled a new exodus of EU workers.
“The immediate cause of the general supply disruption is the ongoing effects of epidemics,” Jonathan Ports, a professor of economics at King’s College London, told AFP.
“It is hardly surprising that huge sectors of the economy need to be shut down and millions of people need to stop working, and then reopen these sectors – not once but many times – in the supply of chains and similarities in the labor market. It will disrupt. That is true throughout Europe. “
Brexit caused major border delays following Britain’s exit from the European Union on January 1, while new immigration laws disrupted recruitment.
As a result, fewer EU citizens are working in the logistics sector, which the British stay away from due to lower wages and longer hours.
The epidemic prompted even more foreign workers to flee the country.
He said the ongoing travel bans with the effects of Brexit meant that many people did not return and may not want to do so.
The British Retail Consortium has warned that the situation will worsen in October, when imported EU products require a new border check.
“Empty shelf (and) delayed or canceled shipments have become a familiar sight to many, as companies struggle to meet demand,” said Jonathan Owens, a supply chain expert at the University of Salford.
Meanwhile, UK automakers are hitting the brakes due to staff shortages and a global shortage of microchips.
Car sales fell about a third in July, as production fell by about 40 percent to its lowest level since 1956.
The UK’s Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index, which charts private sector business activity, hit a six-month low in August due to staff and supply shortages – but is still in the area of expansion.
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