Your overview of economic and policy news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry. Featuring the latest developments and guidance on the rising cost of living, the Ukraine crisis, labour shortages, COVID-19 and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.
Living standards to fall
Independent analysts have estimated that the typical income after housing costs for working households is likely to fall by 4% in 2023-24. This is larger than the 3% decline predicted for 2022-23.
IGD anticipates that the mismatch between earnings and inflation will continue into 2023, with most workers seeing their spending power falling. To find out more about our predictions for what’s in-store for the economy, consumers and government policy, register here for our upcoming Viewpoint webinar on 26th January – From inflation to recession: What to watch out for in 2023.
Energy Bills Discount Scheme
The Government has announced the Energy Bills Discount Scheme, providing businesses, public sector organisations and voluntary bodies with automatic discounts on the unit prices of gas and electricity from 1st April 2023 to 31st March 2024. To manage costs, the level of support will be significantly lower from April 2023. UK hospitality has expressed concern that this will result in a total of £4.5bn increase in energy bills for the sector.
As part of the scheme, it was confirmed that businesses in energy and trade intensive industries will receive a greater level of support. This includes a number of food and drink manufacturers.
See here to read our full summary of the Energy Bills Discount Scheme.
GDP increases in November
The ONS has announced that GDP increased slightly by 0.1% in November following the 0.5% rise in October. This was boosted by food and beverage sales in foodservice during the world cup. GDP is estimated to have declined by 0.3% for September-November 2022.
Single-use plastic ban
The Government is expected to ban the use of single use plastic items such as plastic cutlery, plates and polystyrene trays in England. The move is part of the government’s response to a consultation on single-use plastic, expected to be published soon.
The UK and EU have made progress in talks on the Northern Ireland Protocol. Whilst it was agreed that “critical issues need to be resolved”, an agreement has been made to share trade data. Talks will continue next week.
The agreement allows the EU to access UK IT systems to provide information about the goods flowing from GB to NI, and was described as a “critical prerequisite to building trust and providing assurance.”
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Our round-up of the latest economic and political news, focused on FMCGs