IGD - Economics bulletin 23 September

Date : 23 September 2021

Your overview of political and economic news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry, featuring the latest developments and guidance on COVID-19 and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.

Labour shortages – industry letter to the Prime Minister

The National Farmers Union and other industry bodies including the Food and Drink Federation have written to the Prime Minister to request the following as a matter of urgency:

  • A 12-month COVID Recovery Visa to alleviate labour shortages
  • Commitment to a permanent, revised and expanded Seasonal Worker Scheme
  • An urgent review by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the impact of ending free movement on the food and farming sector

This comes as concerns have been raised by industry that the shortage of workers could have a significant impact on on-shelf availability, particularly during the busy Christmas trading period.

Recent research conducted by IGD revealed that while 61% of shoppers experienced shortages of some food and groceries in-store or online recently, just 26% have recently felt the need to stock up or purchase more than they normally do.

This comes as the government launched an industry taskforce to inform the response to labour market and supply chain challenges.

Labour shortages in the food and farming sector – call for evidence

Businesses can submit evidence until Friday 8 October 2021 into an inquiry by The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee into food and labour issues.

The inquiry will explore what is causing labour shortages, and the impact on the food and farming sector both now and in the future.

CO2 supplies restarting

The government has announced a short-term agreement with CF Fertilisers to enable the immediate restart of CO2 supplies.

CF Fertilisers recently stopped production of CO2 in two sites that produce 60% of the country’s carbon dioxide supplies due to rising natural gas prices. Industry representatives had expressed concern that this would adversely impact supplies within a matter of days.

Supply Chain Analysis subscribers can see more detail on the potential impact on food supply here.

Support for exporters

DEFRA has announced plans to support exports by the UK’s farmers and food and drink businesses. This includes:

  • Appointing more dedicated ‘agri-food attaches’
  • Establishing a Food and Drink Exports Council
  • Strengthening technical expertise as well as farmers and producers’ understanding of export markets

The exports initiative will launch later in the year.

Animal welfare labelling

Businesses have until 6 December 2021 to submit evidence on the impacts of possible reforms to food labelling for animal welfare.

Movement Assistance Scheme feedback

Businesses have until 27 September 2021 to complete a short survey on the Movement Assistance Scheme. The aim is to improve support to traders who are moving agri-food goods from Great Britain to Northern Ireland.

See the Key dates for UK-EU transition and support for businesses

See the webinar calendar for organisations that trade with the EU including the Border and Protocol Delivery Group (BPDG) Industry Day Programme 202.

Access a series of webinars with panel of experts and see the guidance on trade with the UK as a business based in the EU.

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