The hard reality of Brexit is hitting Britain
While food shortages have been common in many countries over the course of the pandemic, Iain Brown, vice chairman of East Scotland Growers (ESG), believes that one issue unique to the UK is making life extra painful: Brexit.
According to Brown, the two essential prongs of production — first, getting fresh food out of the ground, and then distributing it onto supermarket shelves — are both taking a hit due to a lack of workers.
It seems that the consequences of Brexit are finally being felt up and down the UK.And far from the sunlit uplands promised by members of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government, a shortage of European workers in these vital areas means financial losses for businesses and empty shelves as the UK hurtles towards Christmas.
UK GDP growth ground to a near halt in July, according to the Office for National Statistics, in part because of supply chain issues and worker shortages.Britain's economy remains 2.1% smaller than before the pandemic, and some economists think the difference won't be made up until the second quarter of next year.
The government, critics say, failed to adequately prepare for the inevitable consequences of Brexit and mitigate its initial impact.
"Throughout the whole Brexit process the government found its efforts to get business and people prepared for the inevitable upheaval undermined by its need to present Brexit as something that would be positive for the UK and the economy, " says Sam Lowe, a senior research fellow at the Centre for European Reform.
But Brexit really is starting to bite.It was never going to be the case that the UK would immediately fall apart.But little by little, many of the assurances made in 2016 and during years of negotiations are cracking.