Industry leaders have warned that factories face closure within days without government help.
As millions across the country face a cost of living crisis caused by soaring gas prices, supply shortages and a labour shortage, we take a closer look at some of the major crises facing Britain while the prime minister jets off for a luxury retreat in Spain.
Soaring gas prices
Wholesale gas prices have risen 250 percent this year, with millions across the country facing higher energy costs this winter, placing an unprecedented strain on the country’s gas supply. A cold winter last year has left stock levels in Europe low. The problem has been further compounded by high demand for liquefied natural gas from Asia and a reduction in supplies from Russia.
Millions also face a rise in the cost of living due to rising inflation. In its September policy statement, the Bank of England increased its forecast for inflation at the end of the year to over 4%. The bank warned that higher energy prices will send the inflation rate above 4% and keep it there into 2022.
With energy bills, grocery bills and the price of other household items rising, workers will face a further squeeze on their pay packets after the government’s decision to raise national insurance from April 2022, as it decides to tax work rather than wealth to pay for social care.
The government went ahead with its planned cut to the £20 universal credit uplift which was opposed even by six former Conservative secretaries of state for work and pensions and despite the warning of charities and foodbanks that it would push 800,000 people into poverty, including 200,000 children.
The cut means that around 5.5 million low-income families will lose £1,040 from their annual income, creating serious financial hardship.
Factories ‘on the brink’
The surge in gas prices has also led to a major strain being put on businesses that rely on it to make products such as steel, glass, ceramics and paper. Industry leaders have warned that factories face closure within days without government help.
CEO of British Glass Dave Dalton, said some of the confederation’s “significant” members were “teetering on the edge”.
He told the BBC: “I think some companies are staring down the ability to survive, absolutely – ultimately that obviously cascades on to jobs and impacts on the consumer.”
Shoppers face empty shelves
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), One in six adults in Britain have been unable to buy essential food items in the last fortnight. 17% of adults said that they could not buy some of the grocery products they needed between 22 September and 3 October, as a result of supply chain disruption and labour shortages.
The supply chain and logistics industry have warned that pressures on delivery of food and goods are only likely to increase in the run-up to Christmas.
Basit Mahmood is co-editor of Left Foot Forward
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