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.
New DEFRA Secretary of State
The new Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has announced changes to the cabinet.
Therese Coffey, is the newly appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. She has previous experience of working within Defra as both a Minister of State in 2019 and Under Secretary of State from 2016 to 2019.
The new Secretary of State has said that “The Environmental Land Management Scheme is going ahead. I am confident we will make some announcements soon.”
The Government has moved the Medium Term Fiscal Plan to 17th November and confirmed that it has been upgraded to a full Autumn Statement. The Autumn Statement will be accompanied by the Office for Budget Responsibility report.
Join our team live for our Viewpoint webinar on 18th November and be the first to hear our initial analysis of the Autumn Statement and accompanying Office for Budget Responsibility report and our new forecasts for food inflation. Register here.
Food inflation of lowest cost items
The ONS has reported that the price of the lowest priced everyday items continues to rise in line with the overall food inflation (17% vs 15%).
There is significant variation across different products. For example, vegetable oil prices increased by 46% between April 2022 and September 2022, compared to a decrease of 8% for orange juice.
Northern Ireland Protocol update
The Northern Ireland Secretary has called for new elections to the Northern Ireland assembly. The Democratic Unionist Party is refusing to take part in the executive due to its opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol. They are particularly concerned about the number of checks taking place on goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.
Meaningful talks between the EU and the UK government got under way in early October.
Energy Bill Relief Scheme
Businesses are encouraged to complete a questionnaire by 11:55 p.m. on 31st October to provide feedback on the Energy Bill Relief Scheme.
The Energy Bill Relief Scheme will provide eligible businesses with support for energy bills through to 31st March 2023.
Drought conditions to remain
The National Drought Group has forecast that average rainfall levels over the winter will not be sufficient to avoid drought conditions next year.
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