By Deirdre Tynan • 06 September 2021 • 14:42
Labour has called for the Government to adopt a five-point plan to tackle supply chain disruption, including establishing a minister with responsibility for tackling worker and supply shortages, and working with business and unions to improve terms and conditions in key sectors.
The party is warning the Government that it must get a grip on the chaos and disruption hitting British businesses and supply chains or risk the country’s economic recovery, empty shelves and consumers being hit in their pockets.
Labour’s Shadow Business Secretary, Ed Miliband MP, said, “The Government must get a grip on the supply chain crisis facing our economy. While they act as if the problem will solve itself, businesses are telling government these problems are only going to grow. The serious disruption and added costs risk harming our recovery and passing costs to consumers.
“Ministers have a habit of ignoring warnings and shifting the burden of blame to businesses. But it is their undermining of our country’s skills training system, failure to deliver on their promise to cut barriers facing businesses and belief in an insecure labour market with poor terms and conditions that has created this crisis,” he added.
Around a quarter of manufacturing and retail businesses have seen extra costs due to additional transportation costs, and figures this week showed that shop prices rose last month.
The supply chain disruption, caused by increased barriers at the border, worker shortages following the end of the transition period and long-standing issues around terms and conditions in key sectors like HGVs, as well as global supply shortages as a result of the Covid crisis, were completely foreseeable. Yet having been repeatedly warned by business about looming driver shortages, the Conservatives dismissed concerns as “crying wolf”.
Labour has slammed the Government’s failure to prepare for the disruption, including their failure to boost employment and raise standards in key sectors like transport and logistics.
The Government has overseen a chronic weakening of the foundations of Britain’s skills system and a boom in poor employment conditions, creating the conditions for the current crisis.
The impact is being felt across the economy and hitting consumers, with shops cancelling deliveries because of driver shortages, running out of goods and issuing stark warnings about serious Christmas disruption.
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Deirdre Tynan is an award-winning journalist who enjoys bringing the best in news reporting to Spain’s largest English-language newspaper, Euro Weekly News. She has previously worked at The Mirror, Ireland on Sunday and for news agencies, media outlets and international organisations in America, Europe and Asia. A huge fan of British politics and newspapers, Deirdre is equally fascinated by the political scene in Madrid and Sevilla. She moved to Spain in 2018 and is based in Jaen.
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