Brussels Editorial Office
04 October 2021 at 3:03 pm
“We don’t have a magic wand.” UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak acknowledged today that the UK government cannot solve all supply problems immediately, but blames the crisis on the global trade situation, not the consequences of Brexit. Meanwhile, Army’s operation to distribute petrol to the remaining dry stations began today.
About 200 military personnel, half of whom were operating the tankers, swung into action at the Bunsfield fuel depot today. It is hoped that his intervention will help normalize the situation after a ten-day queue at the distributors. According to statistics from trade unions, 22% of petrol stations in London and South East England are still dry. “We see that there is a supply problem in many areas, but there are things we can do and not others. We don’t have a magic wand. If an Asian country closes a port because of the coronavirus outbreak, we can do something. Can’t. We will do everything in our power,” Sunak told the BBC today, referring to the global problems of distribution chains related to Covid.
However, the UK, with empty shelves in many supermarkets, is much more affected than other countries and many people raise a finger against Brexit. In fact, the United Kingdom is short of 100,000 horsemen and personnel in agricultural and meat processing plants, all sectors that previously employed many Eastern European workers. Today it was pig farmers who protested in front of the Conservatives Conference in Manchester, as well as demanding visas for workers in their sector.
So far the British government has agreed to issue temporary visas only to truck drivers (5,000) and poultry processing plant workers (5,500). It is unclear whether this will be enough to stave off a “winter of discontent” instigated by some British media. Nick Allen, the head of the Meat Producers Association, meanwhile renewed the alarm over a Christmas shortage of holiday foods. In an interview with Sky, he said that “French Turkey” would probably need to be imported. However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has repeatedly denied resolving the situation “with uncontrolled immigration”, saying Brexit requires “an adjustment period”.
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