Government Plan to Relax Foreign Haulier Delivery Rules to Compensate for Driver Shortage

In order to combat the UK's lorry driver crisis, the goverment plans to relax rules regarding how many overseas deliveries can be made a week.

Currently, EU drivers are only permitted to make two pick-ups or drop-offs each week, but the government is set to extend this to include unlimited deliveries or collections within a two week period.

The move comes in an effort to tackle the supply chain issues that have been recently plauging the UK, resulting in petrol shortages and limited stock in supermarkets.  There is also growing concern amongst retailers that poducts such as children's toys will be in short supply at Christmas.

The new rules mean HGV drivers entering the UK carrying goods can pick up and drop off items an unlimited number of times before returning home.  This would mean that thousands more HGV deliveries could be executed each month on schedule, according to the government.

The changes are still pending approval following a one-week consultation, but it is hoped they will come into effect towards the end of the year and last for a period of up to six months.

French Minister Claims Brexit is Damaging Supply Chain

According to Bruno Le Maire, Brexit is having a negative impact on the UK's ability to rectify its supply chain issues.
Although the French minister admitted that the EU is facing "the same issue" with supply chain disruptions, he claims it is coping better than the UK.
Speaking to the BBC at the G7 in Washington, Le Maire said: "The fact that we are a member of a very important single market helps us facing these bottlenecks"
"When you are asking for some more people in restaurants, in hotels, for truck drivers, for instance, you have access to other labour markets"
Currently there is thought to be a shortage of 400,000 HGV drivers across the trade bloc, with Poland short of approximately 120,000 and France and Germany 40,000 respectively.
In the UK, retailers have been issuing warnings for months that a shortfall of lorry drivers would inevitably lead to empty shelves and product shortages.
Despite Boris Jphnson planning to issue 5000 visas in the run-up to Christmas to account for festive demmand, just 127 drivers have applied to work in the UK under the new emergency scheme.

New Survey Shows Anxious Shoppers Already Stocking up for Christmas

Concerns about stockpiling and product shortages have caused many British consumers to start buying Christmas supplies early this year, according to a survey conducted by Lumina Intelligence.
Of the 1001 shoppers surveyed, over a third claimed they had already made a start on their Christmas shopping, or were considering doing so.
Non-perishable products such as crisps and snacks and tinned produce, along with alcohol, were amongst the most populat products purchased, the survey revealed.
A further 56% of participants admitted to being concerned about product shortages and stockpiling, with middle aged consumers revealed as being the most worried.
Inisght Director at Lumina, Bonnie Whist, said: “Christmas this year will be incredibly different to last, when travel restrictions and last-minute regional lockdowns ended most people’s festive plans.
“Consumers will be looking to make up for lost time and with no restrictions surrounding gatherings we can expect big celebrations.
“However, media coverage surrounding product shortages due to the HGV driver shortage, Brexit and Covid is concerning shoppers, with some already stockpiling ahead of Christmas and many more likely to follow suit.
“Retailers need to be prepared for Christmas preparations to start early this year and should expect a bumper year for sales, but also need to communicate clearly with shoppers to ensure purchasing behaviours do not hit the extremes of April 2020 when the pressures on the supply chain peaked.”

Increasing Supply Chain Costs will Cause Supermarket Prices to "Rise by 5%"

Increases in commodity and global shipping costs teamed with raw material, driver and labour shortages are likely to see supermarket prices rise yet again, it has been suggested.

In the coming weeks, consumers can expect to see prices increase by up to 5% as suppliers and retailers struggle to cover rising supply chain costs.  Further price increases are also predicted in the New Year.

David Sables, Chief Executive of Sentinel Management Consultants - which assists suppliers in their communications with UK supermarkets -  has reported a rising number of enquiries from clients relating to cost-price increases.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Sables said that, as a direct result of labour and raw material shortages, combined with an increase in factors such as global shipping prices, there was "immense pressure" on suppliers and retailers.

He went on to explain that they felt obligated to "pass on" the increased costs to customers, saying: 'We have never seen this level of suppliers coming to us speaking about planned cost price increases. I would expect to see across the next six to eight weeks something like 5% [increases] going across the board on to the prices on shelves.'

Sabel also pointed out that the predicted increase in supermarket prices did not account for the additonal strain of rising C02 pricing due to dwindling supplies, saying: "There is a chance now that when you add in extra fuel hikes, and the CO2 issue, that hits prices as well.  It may be that suppliers go a second time on their prices after Christmas"


50 Shops Per Day Closed in First Half of 2021

New research has found that 50 shops a day across high streets, retail parks and shopping centres closed in the first half of 2021. Fashion retailers were the worst affected with 1063 fashion retail stores closing.
The research was conducted for accountancy firm PwC which said government support during the pandemic helped keep businesses afloat but the second half of the year will be “make or break” for many stores as government help is wound down.
City centres saw a 4.3 per cent drop in the number of occupied retail outlets as people and businesses moved to suburban or out-of-town locations, reflecting the rise in people working from home.
Commuter towns saw a three per cent decrease in the number of shops, while villages saw a decline of 2.3 per cent.

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