Brexit and Corona consequences: What is lacking in Great Britain

Brexit and Corona consequences
Bouncers, vegetables, Christmas trees: everything the British lack

Partially empty shelves in a supermarket in London: Corona and Brexit are causing major problems for the supply chains. Some markets cover the gaps with cardboard disc displays

© Frank Augstein

Corona and Brexit have turned the labor market and supply chains upside down. This can be seen in many corners and ends in Great Britain these weeks. An incomplete list of the shortcoming.

There is hardly a word that appears more frequently in the British media than “shortages”. Not a week goes by without an industry complaining about a lack of applicants or missing goods.

It is true that the supply chains are disrupted worldwide after the economy has restarted after the corona crisis. But the UK is hit particularly hard, because Brexit will add another bitter setback.

Truck driver

“Everything we have in the UK comes to us in the back of a truck,” says Rod McKenzie of the Road Haulage Association time and again. That is why the shortage of an estimated 100,000 truck drivers hits the British particularly hard. Petrol stations cannot be supplied with fuel, large supermarkets have to forego regular supplies, which is why there are always gaps on the shelves. Many EU drivers have returned to their home countries during the pandemic and cannot simply go back to work in the UK after Brexit. In addition, more drivers retire every month than the youngsters are being trained.

Fresh vegetables and fruits

Fresh vegetables and fruit cannot be stored for long, so there are always gaps on the shelves when supermarkets wait in vain for deliveries. To avoid frustrated photos of customers on social media, some UK supermarkets have gotten creative. For example, the Tesco chain has put pictures of food on some shelves on cardboard, as reported by the Guardian. “Mmmh, delicious photo of asparagus,” commented one user on Twitter. On request, however, Tesco said it had been using the printed cardboard boxes for a long time.

bus driver

Because logistics companies woo anyone who can drive a truck, wages in the industry have risen. British bus drivers are left behind, although they too suffer from long shifts and a lack of toilets. “So people are now thinking that if we have to keep working in these Victorian conditions, we can drive a truck for £ 20 an hour instead of a bus for £ 10,” said union leader Bobby Morton. “That’s why bus drivers are going to the other branch in droves.” According to the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK, there are currently around 4,000 bus drivers missing, and connections have already been canceled on some routes.

Brexit and Corona consequences: bouncers, vegetables, Christmas trees: everything the British are missing


The British club industry lacks bouncers. During the pandemic, when clubs and bars were closed for many months, many had left the industry and looked for jobs with more pleasant working hours, said the head of the Night Time Industries Association, Michael Kill, the broadcaster Sky News. “Brexit did not help either, even if it is not the only factor that plays a role here.” According to the industry, around one in five clubs or restaurants in the UK had closed or restricted opening times by last month due to a lack of staff.


Many Brits still like to eat pork – but there are fewer and fewer people in the country who are willing to slaughter them too. British pig farmers have warned in recent weeks that around 120,000 healthy animals would have to be killed on the farms and thrown in the trash if the situation did not improve. By the end of the year, up to 800 foreign specialists can apply for work visas, which allow them to stay in the country for up to six months. There is also a maximum of 5500 visas for the poultry industry. The UK’s largest poultry producer had previously warned that turkeys could be scarce this Christmas.

Nursing staff

Above all, people with disabilities who need help with everyday tasks have problems finding appropriate nurses after Brexit, as the “Observer” reported on Sunday. In the meantime, applications have to be rejected on a regular basis, according to Peter Henry from the Origin organization, which arranges nursing staff for people with spinal disorders. Katy Etherington, who runs the PA Pool personal care staff database, also reported that British applicants could not make up for the lack of European staff.

Pine trees

Even the British Christmas party is not under a simple star: “This Christmas season it will be more difficult to get hold of a real Christmas tree,” said Mark Rofe from online retailer in a recent interview. This is due to the tight labor market, but also the cost of raw materials such as wood for pallets or fertilizer. At the same time, the demand for British fir trees is increasing, because the import costs for trees from the EU have increased since Brexit due to bureaucracy and customs duties.


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