Tag Archives: shortage

Food chain collapse means Brexit is hitting schools – and the media are whitewashing Johnson

School meals: Boris Johnson’s Brexit means these are soon to become a rarity.

The Brexit-prompted HGV driver shortage means school canteens are going to run out of food, it was revealed – just as English schools reopened for the autumn term.

Now, why wasn’t this ever mentioned before?

HGV drivers are chronically low-paid, which is probably why there was a shortage of 60,000 even before all the EU-national drivers – 25,000 of them – were told to go home by Boris Johnson’s gang of xenophobes (you call them the government).

There were plans to train up 19,000 new drivers but they were foiled by Covid-19.

So that’s 104,000 HGVs that aren’t servicing our supermarkets and schools. It must be terrific for reducing pollution but it’s not so good for your child’s nutritional needs.

But that isn’t even the worst of it!

Farmers are struggling to get workers to bring in the harvest, meaning much of the food they have grown over the last year may spoil.

Formerly people came from the European Union but “post-Brexit, that is a problem”.

Apparently 70,000 seasonal workers are needed but only 30,000 seasonal work permits are available to people now living in the EU. And there aren’t enough UK workers to fill the gap.

Either the Tories didn’t think about this when they were setting the number of seasonal permits available… or they deliberately planned to sabotage the harvest. Neither alternative is particularly palatable, is it?

This Writer will be charitable and suggest that the Tories didn’t think. There’s a precedent for this: they didn’t think the withdrawal from Afghanistan would be the mess they made it and they didn’t think giving Covid-related contracts worth billions of pounds to their inexperienced friends would do any harm, after all.

So this is probably just another symptom of Boris Johnson’s spectacular – nay, stellar – incompetence.

I’m sure you’ll take comfort from that when you look at your empty plate later this year.

And by the way, that’ll be partly due to a knock-on effect of all this: food prices are going to rocket:

According to the FT report,

the shortage of lorry drivers and more regulatory checks on imported food [will] combine with rising prices for fuel, freight and raw materials, experts have warned.

So that’s even before the effect on the harvest is taken into account!

People are, understandably, angry:

But some are strangely silent.

For example – the BBC. The omission that Peter Stefanovic mentions below is just symptomatic of the Corporation’s efforts to safeguard Boris Johnson and his Tory gang from any responsibility for their stupid decisions:

And – inevitably – they are helped in this by the utter failure of Labour MPs to highlight the harm and the reason for it. Anyone would think they had faults of their own to hide:

Perhaps it’s time people were reminded that they voted for this fiasco. Given a choice between a leader who would have ensured that there was food on our plates and Boris Johnson, the UK’s people voted for starvation:

For some, this will be the hardest part to swallow.

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Brexit-prompted tube shortage means UK doctors can’t do blood tests

Scheduled blood tests are being cancelled across the UK and doctors are being forced to make hard decisions about what to do if they lose the ability to provide life-saving diagnostic testing due to a Brexit-prompted shortage of blood collection tubes.

Becton Dickinson, the NHS’s main supplier of blood collection tubes, has been blamed for the shortage, with the manufacturer suggesting the post-Brexit HGV driver shortage could be to blame, according to iNews.

The Department of Health and Social Care is desperately trying to play down the crisis, saying everything is being done to eliminate the shortage.

But NHS England has released new guidance that aims to reduce the use of blood tubes to the bare minimum, suggesting that the issue is serious.

And bosses of the British Medical Association – the doctors’ trade union – are furious. Their press release on the situation makes this abundantly clear [boldings mine]:

“The BMA says the shortage of blood tubes across hospitals and GP surgeries is now severe and if the NHS does not reduce the amount being used in the coming days, even the most clinically important blood tests may be at risk.

“Doctors at the BMA have already made plain their concerns about the implications for patients and their anger that this shortage has been allowed to happen in the first place. However, in the absence of a plan to bring in alternative supplies before the middle of next month, the situation is now urgent. The BMA is urging all doctors to follow the NHS guidance and carry out only the most critical of tests for the time being.

“Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair, said: ‘This crisis has put doctors and their patients in a terrible, unenviable position. No doctor knowingly undertakes unnecessary blood tests and to now have to ration all those we are doing, as well as cancel hundreds more, goes against everything we stand for as clinicians.

“‘However, if we don’t try to follow the NHS guidance, it’s clear we will get to the point where even the most clinically urgent of blood tests may not be able to be done as we simply won’t have the tubes for the blood to go into.

“‘We are at a very perilous point and it’s surprising that NHS England hasn’t declared a critical incident given the very strong possibility that NHS organisations may temporarily lose the ability to provide lifesaving diagnostic testing. We also call on NHS England to commit to the changes that are needed for their guidance to be properly followed by doctors, and provide patients with detailed, easily accessible information about the situation.

“‘Many GP practices – like mine – will now have to spend hours assessing which already scheduled tests can or cannot be cancelled and this takes time away from frontline patient care when it is most needed. Cancelling tests makes patients anxious and can mean a missed diagnosis.’

“Dr Vishal Sharma, BMA consultants committee chair, said: ‘The very suggestion that an acute hospital trust needs to reduce testing by 25 per cent is highly alarming. However, to try and avoid a situation where there are simply no more blood tubes, we have no choice but to now make very careful decisions about which tests to carry out.

“‘It is shocking that this situation has been allowed to develop – in particular, the apparent over-reliance on one manufacturer and the woeful lack of any kind of reserve supply. The manufacturers should also have to explain how they allowed stocks to run so low that patients will now suffer as a result. If we don’t get on top of this shortage – and quickly – then we could very easily end up in a catastrophic position, particularly in hospitals where patients come to serious harm.’”

“Severe… anger… terrible, unenviable position… goes against everything we stand for as clinicians… Perilous… can mean a missed diagnosis… highly alarming… shocking that this situation has been allowed to develop… Woeful… catastrophic… patients come to serious harm.”

And it is – apparently – a result of Brexit. And the “politicians” responsible for it couldn’t care less.

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News media accept supermarket food shortages are due to Brexit – contrary to Johnson’s propaganda

Lorries without drivers: news outlets are finally admitting the shortage is due to Brexit. Boris Johnson won’t like that!

This is an important admission from The Independent, although it lags a considerable time behind some of us in the social media.

The newspaper’s article Brexit food shortages could ‘cancel Christmas’ and last into 2022 acknowledges – in its headline – that Brexit is responsible for the emptying of your local supermarket’s shelves – not Covid-19.

It states:

Britain’s post-Brexit supply chain crisis could “cancel Christmas” and continue to cause food shortages well into 2022, industry leaders have warned.

Boris Johnson’s government has been urged to ease immigration rules so some EU citizens who left the UK during Brexit can return and help fill major gaps in the workforce.

McDonald’s had run out of milkshakes, [and] chicken shortages caused Nando’s to temporarily shut 50 stores last week because of supply problems linked to Brexit.

The RHA [Road Haulage Association] estimates that up to 20,000 heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers from the EU left during Brexit.

Tom Southall, policy officer at the Cold Chain Federation, said Brexit was partly to blame for recruitment problems across the food sector – predicting that it would be 2022 before the nation begins to get to grips with the backlog of vacancies for drivers, pickers and processors.

Norfolk food firm Alfred G Pearce, which grows and processes vegetables, is also struggling with labour shortages, having seen its workforce reduced 20 per cent to 30 per cent down after EU employees returned home during the Brexit process.

Bryan Roberts, retail analyst at Shopfloor Insights, said it would take time to train new workers, even with a major recruitment drive. “Sadly I think things are only going to get worse in the run-up to Christmas and we’ve got a whole load more regulations coming in from Brexit in October,” he said.

Other news media have caught on and are starting to say the same:

It seems people in the UK are finally turning the corner and realising that the way to conquer our differences with the EU was to remain a member state and argue for change (in a rational way, not a David Cameron do-as-I-say-or-I’ll-have-a-strop ultimatum) and not to walk out and end all the trade agreements and border deals we had in our favour.

Of course, the shortage of lorry drivers would be over if Boris Johnson and his Tories would only make two decisions: first, they could swallow their misplaced pride and bring in drivers from the EU to cover the current shortfall; second, they should raise pay rates above subsistence level – otherwise there would be no reason for anybody to help out at all.

Some employers have seen the light and raised wages unilaterally…

… but Johnson and his gang won’t impose these changes nationally because they themselves are not suffering. They don’t care about you and they never did.

So you see now that Brexit was created to engineer the very shortages you are experiencing today, deliberately, by Johnson and his Brexiteer Tories.

Source: Brexit food shortages could ‘cancel Christmas’ and last into 2022, says industry | The Independent

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Racist Tories indicate they’d rather have criminals driving our lorries than foreigners

I’m not happy with this.

It seems Boris Johnson’s government is thinking of letting convicted criminals – who are serving prison sentences – deliver lorry loads of goods to ease the driver shortage caused by Brexit (not Covid-19).

The option was tabled by the Association of Independent Meat Suppliers, which is apparently meeting with HM Prison Service this week (although I don’t know why. Most of the prisons are run by private companies these days, aren’t they?) to ask for lorry drivers to be prioritised on the Release on Temporary Licence (ROFL* ROTL) scheme.

The meeting comes after Nando’s had to close 45 fast food joints due to a shortage of chickens. In related news, McDonalds recently ran out of milkshakes.

And of course the nation is running out of patience.

But that didn’t stop ministers rejecting calls for temporary work visas to be handed to drivers from the European Union after overtures were made to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.

The response was clear – and clearly racist: “The British people repeatedly voted to end free movement and take back control of our immigration system and employers should invest in our domestic workforce instead of relying on labour from abroad.”

In other words: “We don’t want Johnny Foreigner coming over here and helping us out of a problem we created because of our racism against him! We’d rather cut off our noses to spite our faces!

The statement continued: “We recently announced a package of measures to help tackle the HGV driver shortage, including plans to streamline the process for new drivers to gain their HGV licence and to increase the number of tests able to be conducted.”

In other words, new drivers will be trained to a lower standard, and tests will be of a lower quality, in order to put more drivers on our streets. And bring more death to our roads?

The alternative is the use of prisoners. You can read about it here and here.

Owain Gardner (below) makes some good points about it:

And so does Richard Murphy:

We’re coming to a point where we don’t mind who we trust to deliver our food – or what condition it may be in when it arrives. That’s why I don’t think such a scheme will work.

Which prisoners would the government allow to be used? What crimes would the government deem to be harmless enough to allow them to deliver food to us? How would they be supervised?

My guess is that the answers to these three questions are: any, all, and not at all.

And that creates a danger to us. It only takes one con with a chip on his shoulder to cause all kinds of problems. I’m sure I can leave the consequences to your imagination.

Oh, I’m exaggerating; overdramatising. Sure.

But we have prisons to stop dangerous people from doing dangerous things. This scheme will give them free rein to do it.

And I’m only wrong about this until something happens to prove me right.

*ROFL is of course an Internet acronym meaning “Rolling On the Floor Laughing”. I mention it because of its similarity to ROTL, and also to connect with Keir Starmer’s howler at his latest relaunch of his party leadership, in which he used the slogan “Winning The Future” (WTF). You’re probably aware that WTF is Internet-speak for “What The F***”.

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Dementia patient deported by Patel; Labour councillor wants ‘anti-migrant militia’ [Also in the news]

Border Force: while a Labour councillor calls for the creation of migrant vigilante groups, Priti Patel has deported a dementia patient.

Lots to get through tonight and no time for commentary:

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Bonanza for private health firms as Tories cut NHS’s ability to cope

Private hospitals are set to mop up more than £2 billion in new deals – £200 million of which will be pure profit for shareholders – to provide non-urgent procedures like hip replacement operations because the NHS is struggling with Tory underfunding.

It’s typical financial incompetence from the Tories – they’d rather send £200 million to the private offshore tax-haven bank accounts of greedy profiteers than invest it in the health of the English people (this is an English NHS plan).

And experience indicates that the NHS will have to come back and sort out the mess after the private firms botch a significant percentage of the operations (unless they’ve managed to stop doing that? If anyone has new information on this, please let me know).

According to iNews,

The Government has drawn up contingency plans for further local, regional, or national lockdowns in England, but hopes the deals to create around 7,000 extra beds in private hospitals will help avoid the need for the reintroduction of Covid restrictions.

The signing of further contracts with the private sector follows a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies that found NHS waiting lists could almost treble to 14 million by autumn next year.

A spokesman for NHS England claimed such deals between the NHS and private healthcare groups are struck “at the same cost to taxpayers” as NHS services. However, similar contracts throughout the pandemic have agreed a “cost-plus” pricing formula, which allow for profits of between 8 and 10 per cent to be paid to the hospital groups.

Private hospital groups such as Circle Health, Ramsay Health Care and Spire Healthcare are believed to been among those discussing new and expanded deals with the Department for Health and Social Care.

This is just throwing good money after bad.

And the reason it is necessary? Here‘s the Morning Star:

NHS workers are trapped in a “vicious circle” of staff shortages and exhaustion, health service experts have warned, as they called for better funding of the health service.

Real investment in capacity is needed to address vacancies in the NHS, the effect of which has been compounded by increasing rates of staff sickness, said Dr Layla McCay, policy director of the NHS Confederation, which represents health service organisations.

The warning came after MPs published a damning report in June highlighting “emergency” levels of staff burnout in the healthcare sector.

There are currently 76,000 staff vacancies in the NHS, including 40,000 for doctors.

Last month, research by doctors’ union BMA found that England was 25 years behind comparable European nations in terms of the number of doctors per 1,000 people.

Saying that it was “unforgivable” that the government had allowed workforce levels to reach this point, the union demanded extra Treasury investment in training and retaining doctors.

So there you have it.

The NHS would be able to cope with the extra work caused by the Covid-19 pandemic – if only the Conservative Government had funded it properly, making it possible to employ and retain a number of doctors equivalent to those available in other European nations.

But they didn’t. Once again, despite being the sixth-richest country in the World, the UK is the “poor man” in terms of the value we get for that money.

And rather than even begin to put right that lack of investment, the Tory imbeciles are wasting money by throwing it at private firms who will invest it in their own private back accounts rather than in treating people who need it.

That really is sick!

It conforms with Noam Chomsky’s definition of privatisation technique perfectly, though: defund, make sure things don’t work… hand it over to private capital.

The Tories in government are swearing that the private contracts are just a stop-gap measure while the NHS is struggling.

But just you watch them and see if they ever take that work back in-house.

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News-hacks take note: Army ‘on standby’ to deliver food after BREXIT drained UK of lorry drivers

At least Metro couched its reporting of the government-sponsored lie by saying the crisis caused by the lack of lorry drivers “is thought to have been exacerbated by the so-called ‘pingdemic'”.

We know the shortage of lorry drivers has little to do with the government’s Covid-19 warning app on mobile phones, though, don’t we?

It happened because of Brexit; the drivers have all been sent back to the EU nations where they were born.

And now the army has been put on standby to deliver supplies to supermarkets.

That’s 2,000 qualified HGV drivers to make up an expected shortfall of 100,000. Does that seem realistic to you?

We all know the truth, and we’re all saying more or less the same thing:

There is one conclusion to be drawn from this story.

It is that Metro is written by stenographers for government propagandists, rather than by proper reporters.

That’s not my opinion; it’s that of Ian Leslie in The Critic, who wrote the words quoted here:

“Journalists check our stories about what’s going on against the facts and give us different, more truthful angles.”

That certainly doesn’t seem to have happened here! A caveat that the problem “is thought to have been” due to the ‘pingdemic’ doesn’t cut any ice.

Aren’t we lucky to have journalism like that of Vox Political, here on the social media! And what a shame most people are too busy reading Metro to even give it a glance.

Here’s a thought:

Why not share this article with your friends, to show them what they’re missing?

Source: Army ‘on standby’ to deliver food amid shortage of lorry drivers | Metro News

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This is how supermarkets should explain the Brexit-created supply shortage to customers

If only supermarkets explained the facts to their customers, like this:

Personally, I could live without the swearing but it makes the point well.

The strongest point is the comment about the cause of the empty shelves.

We know there’s a driver shortage which the Tory government is trying to blame on Covid-19-related illnesses – although I notice there’s no attempt to tell us why all the drivers are supposed to have suddenly become ill at the same time.

In fact, the missing drivers have all been sent packing back to their EU countries of origin because the Tory government demanded it after the UK left the EU.

So the caption that reads,

Brexit caused this – All other COVID affected countries have plenty of stock

is particularly effective and accurate.

Why don’t supermarkets do this for real (I get the impression that this is just a satirical mock-up)?

They’re probably afraid customers will take offence at having to face the facts of their own stupidity – and shop somewhere else.

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Will people realise the food shortages they suffer in January are due to Brexit?

Grant Shapps: he’s telling us supply chains will remain open after Brexit-imposed border restrictions are imposed from January 1. But he’s the guy who said it was perfectly safe to go back to work, while remaining safe at home himself.

Wasn’t it a stroke of genius to stagger the date the UK leaves the EU and the date any changes to our relationship take effect, so people don’t recognise the connection?

Clearly Boris Johnson wasn’t behind it. We can all agree that a yoghurt has more intelligence than the prime muppet.

So the UK is no longer a member of the European Union at the time of writing – but the Tory government still needs to make preparation for border controls that must be imposed from January 1.

And that isn’t happening.

Rod McKenzie, from the Road Haulage Association, said the government should “act now before it’s too late”.

Mr McKenzie told BBC News: “It is a real case of the government sleepwalking to a disaster with the border preparations that we have, whether it is a deal or no-deal Brexit at the end of December.

“The supply chain on which we are all dependent to get the things we need could be disrupted and there is a lack of government focus and action on this.”

He added: “When we are trying to emerge from the crisis of covid, if we then plunge straight into a Brexit-related crisis, that will be a really difficult moment and we need real pace.

“The difference here is between a disaster area and a disaster area with rocket boosters on.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is busy fitting the rocket boosters to this disaster area.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he “could not pre-empt the outcome” of trade talks with the EU, which he conceded created “some uncertainty”.

But, he said the government had kept supply changes going [I think he means “routes open”] throughout the pandemic and “we are absolutely confident we will do that again in the future”.

Let’s take a moment to remember that the Tory government was unable to supply personal protective equipment during the pandemic, meaning many doctors and nurses died of Covid-19 and Covid-related conditions.

The Tory government was unable to supply respirators during the pandemic, meaning tens of thousands of UK citizens died of Covid-19 and Covid-related conditions.

The government did not keep supply routes open – in fact, there is evidence that the Tories consciously shut them down.

And now Grant Shapps wants us to believe in his pie-in-the-sky promise that everything will be fine.

I don’t buy it. And that’s not all that you won’t be buying from January onwards, if your MPs don’t get their fingers out of their collective rear ends.

Source: Brexit: UK ‘sleepwalking into disaster’ over border plans, hauliers warn – BBC News

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Leaked report warns of Covid-Brexit “horror show” – remember THIS IS WHAT BORIS JOHNSON WANTS

Two-fingered salute: the UK might fall into lawlessness and chaos because of Boris Johnson but he doesn’t care, as long as he gets what he wants.

A Cabinet Office “reasonable worst-case” report on the effects of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit combining with another wave of Covid-19 has laid out exactly what Boris Johnson wanted for the UK when he became PM.

Johnson, you’ll remember, did not want any trade deals with the European Union after the UK leaves that bloc.

It was widely believed that this is because the hedge fund managers who supported his bid to be Tory leader have bet heavily on the UK going into recession, with many big-name firms going out of business. The claim was that they could make £8 billion out of it.

Of course, none of these multi-billionaires care a fig about the rest of us. If the country falls into chaos they’ll be off to their holiday homes in the sun, with their cash safely stowed in a tax haven.

Meanwhile, back in Blighty, you will be left to deal with food, fuel and power shortages, illness and deaths caused by flood, flu and Covid-19, and incursions into the country from outside such as EU boats coming into our fishing waters.

And, as may reasonably be expected from his government’s failures so far on Covid-19 – the school reopening furore, school meals, exam results, care home deaths, PPE procurement, face mask procurement, test and trace, contract nepotism… the list goes on and on – on flooding (remember that?) and on any other subject you care to mention, the Johnson government has not planned any response to this at all.

The article goes on to state:

  • One in 20 Town Halls could go bust in a second Covid wave, sparking social care chaos.
  • The economic impact of the virus and Brexit could cause public disorder, shortages and price hikes.
  • Troops may have to be drafted on to the streets to help the police in the worst-case scenario — 1,500 are already on stand by.
  • Social distancing measures and masks will have to continue until 2021 regardless.
  • Supplies of food and fuel are all under threat this Christmas if Dover becomes blocked.

The planners warned that “pandemic influenza, severe flooding, a Covid second wave and an unruly exit from the EU transition period could cause a systemic economic crisis with major impact on ­disposable incomes, unemployment, business activity, international trade and market stability.”

It could be combined with likely “coordinated industrial action” as well as shortages risking public disorder and a mental health crisis that will hit the poorest hardest.

Nobody in a Tory government is going to worry about a mental health crisis that harms poor people, of course.

And the attitude by leading Tories to this frankly terrifying report seems to be that if they ignore it, it will go away.

Michael Gove is quoted as babbling: “We got Brexit done with a great deal in January.

“A brighter future awaits as we forge our own path.”

A government spokesperson did add that this was a “reasonable worst case” scenario.

But on the Johnson ministry’s record so far, it is stretching the facts to breaking point to suggest that the government is “ensuring we are ready for all eventualities”.

That simply is not going to happen. On the evidence of the last 12 months, it would be irresponsible to believe anything Johnson, his ministers or his spokespeople say about it.

But there’s one more matter to remember:

If this disaster happens, then there is absolutely nothing you can do about it, other than to prepare as well as you can (because the Tories simply won’t).

I anticipate another stockpiling splurge, worse than the rush for toilet roll in March, at the very least.

Obviously the worst-case will be social unrest and violence – and I’m not ruling that out, either.

Whatever happens, if we end up with no deal and any of the feared outcomes are triggered, you must remember (because he’ll lie about it):

It is what Boris Johnson wanted all along.

Source: Leaked document reveals Cabinet’s emergency plans for perfect storm of No Deal Brexit and coronavirus second wave

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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