RETAIL: STURGEON RAISES PROSPECT OF NO TOYS AND FOOD SHORTAGES THIS CHRISTMAS

By Bill Heaney

It’s not Scotland’s fault that retail stock and staff shortages will almost certainly exist here in the run-up to Christmas.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs this week: that  Scottish ministers first wrote to the UK Government about this emerging problem back in July.

She added: “The Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands has written again this week seeking a meeting to discuss the challenges.

“The fact that we have had to ask for such a meeting tells its own story about how urgently, or otherwise, the UK Government is treating the issue.

“We have warned repeatedly of the damage that would be caused by Brexit. We knew that the loss of freedom of movement would be particularly damaging.

“Sadly, staff shortages are now putting real pressure on food and drink supplies, and the images of healthy food rotting in the fields are astonishing. Frankly, the Tories should be hanging their heads in shame for this whole sorry situation.”

Her SNP colleague Stuart McMillan told parliament: “The British Retail Consortium is the latest organisation to warn of further price increases and disruption in the coming months, due to the Tory-led Brexit.

“Does the First Minister agree that Brexit has been nothing short of a disaster, that Scotland is increasingly vulnerable under Westminster control and that the only way to keep Scotland safe from the long-term economic and social devastation of the Tory-led Brexit is for Scotland to secure our independence?”

Ms Sturgeon replied: “The Conservatives do not like to hear this but, right now, not just in Scotland but across the UK, we are in the quite incredible situation—unlike other countries across the European Union, and this is not about Covid—of seeing shortages in our supermarkets and having shortages of other supplies, with children being told that there might not be toys at Christmas because of the disruption to supply chains.

“Conservatives should take some responsibility, because the situation is entirely inflicted by their obsession with Brexit. There are two things that it is important to remember here. First, Scotland did not vote for Brexit. Secondly, it was utterly reckless of the Conservatives to plough ahead with Brexit in the middle of a global pandemic.

“Those issues illustrate the fact: those are things that are being done to Scotland, not by Scotland. The only solution is for us to take control of all our affairs in Scotland—and, yes, that does mean being an independent country.”

Deploy the Army to get food onto shelves and avoid Christmas chaos

The Liberal Democrats are calling on the Government to send in the Army to deliver food to supermarkets, as immigration chaos fuels a growing shortage of lorry drivers.

The country has endured a summer of shortage chaos with empty supermarket shelves, restaurant food shortages, and even delays to flu jabs. 

The call from the Liberal Democrats comes as the Road Haulage Association warns of a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers and the CBI have recently said there could be up to 2 years of Labour shortages.

The Lib Dems have slammed the Government’s new immigration system, implemented in the middle of the Covid pandemic, which makes it impossible for employers to recruit lorry drivers, care workers and other key workers from overseas.

The call from the Liberal Democrats comes as the Road Haulage Association warns of a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers and the CBI have recently said there could be up to 2 years of Labour shortages.

The Lib Dems have slammed the Government’s new immigration system, implemented in the middle of the Covid pandemic, which makes it impossible for employers to recruit lorry drivers, care workers and other key workers from overseas.

Recent Home Office data shows that 20,000 fewer work visas were issued in the last 12 months than in 2019, even before accounting for the 50,000 EU citizens who came to take up a job offer in the UK under free movement.

Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics also show a dramatic rise in worker shortages with the number of unfilled vacancies in the transport and storage sector having almost tripled from 13,000 to 38,000 in the past year.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson Alistair Carmichael said:  “The Government is ignoring a crisis happening across the country. If they don’t act now we could be in for a Christmas of chaos; with empty shop shelves and restaurant supplies, no toys for our children, and even a delay to life saving flu jabs. 

“We’re at the point now where we need to mobilise the Army to get food onto our supermarket shelves, showing that the Government has failed and left us all facing a bitter winter of discontent.

“This is all down to Priti Patel’s disastrous new immigration rules that are harming Britain. She must listen to British businesses, rather than hinder them, and enable them to hire the lorry drivers and other workers we so desperately need. 

“Just tweaking the Shortage Occupation List is not enough. The Home Secretary should scrap her arbitrary salary threshold and end her ludicrous system that brands key workers as ‘unskilled’. 

“It’s time for Priti Patel and the Conservatives to put the needs of the British economy above their anti-immigration ideology.”

One comment

  1. Ah the empty shops and the the food shortages now set to get even worse.

    And galloping prices too. A real Brexit Dividend.

    Truly great, and all hail to Nicola Sturgeon for stopping us get dragged out of the EU against Scotland’s will.

    Ah will the pleasures of Better Together never end. Enjoy!

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