IGD - Economics bulletin 17 November

Date : 17 November 2020

Your overview of political and economic news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry, featuring the latest guidance on COVID-19 and planning for the end of the transition period with the EU.

EU exit update

With just six weeks to go until the end of the transition period, talks about a trade deal between the UK and EU have resumed this week in Brussels. There has been some reported progress including the development of common draft treaty texts, though significant elements are yet to be agreed over competition rules - where governments give state aid support to businesses - and on fishing rights.

Register for the next IGD EU Exit Webinar update on 19 November to stay up-to-date on all the key issues, including progress of trade talks, Government preparation for EU Exit and exclusive IGD research.

IGD continues to urge members to prepare for “no-deal”. See our EU Exit Checklist.

Visit the EU EXIT Foodhub which provides information for agri-food businesses to help them prepare for the end of the transition period including lists of Frequently Asked Questions.

Managing COVID-19 outbreaks in food settings

Testing pilots continue in a variety of food settings, which aim to prevent the closure of sites due to COVID-19 outbreaks and maintain critical food supplies.

“Test to enable” pilots involve daily testing of low risk contacts of those testing positive for COVID-19. Contacts testing negative are permitted to carry on working rather than completely self-isolating for a period of 14 days.

Additional pilots will assess the potential to prevent outbreaks by conducting regular testing where single cases of COVID-19 are identified, and the screening of agency workers.

“Test to release” pilots are also planned at sites employing migrant workers with the objective of reducing the quarantine period.

Whilst the pilots are a positive development, businesses should continue to follow current guidance and ensure contacts of those testing positive for COVID-19 self-isolate.

Industry representatives have developed good practice guidance for cohorting to help to ensure food settings can remain open where outbreaks have been identified.

Changes to COVID-19 restrictions in Scotland

The Scottish government is expected to announce changes to COVID-19 restrictions today which will see some areas including Lanarkshire, Greater Glasgow and Clyde moving into level four of the five tier framework.

Level four restrictions would see the closure of non-essential shops, pubs, restaurants, hairdressers, barbers, gyms and leisure centres.

Christmas trading

Although Christmas 2020 is set to be a Christmas like no other, shoppers will still want to celebrate and look forward to the new year ahead.

Stay up to date with shopper attitudes and behaviours this Christmas, with our ShopperVista pre and post-Christmas reports. These are due out in early December and mid-January.

More economic news and analysis