The United Kingdom is headed for food shortages that will resemble “rolling power cuts” due to lack of truck drivers and other labor, industry leaders are warning the government.
A letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, signed by the Food and Drink Federation and five other organizations, says that a labor crisis has stemmed from a combination of the pandemic and Brexit, the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union. It warns that government intervention “is the only way we will be able to avert critical supply chains failing at an unprecedented and unimaginable level.”
The head of the Road Haulage Association told The Guardian that the country has a shortage of up to 100,000 long-haul truck drivers. Brexit has made things worse by making it harder for truck drivers from Eastern Europe to enter the country. Processing plants and warehouses are also reporting a hard time finding workers.
As a result, farmers are complaining that they’re not getting the daily pickups they need, and supermarkets are starting to see shortages, especially of refrigerated food, a huge market in Britain.
“I think it is going to be like a series of rolling power cuts in that we are going to see shortages, then shelves replenished, and shortages again,” said the head of the nation’s Cold Chain Federation. “That is going to carry on for as long as demand is unpredictable and labor remains as tight as it is.”