One in three shoppers are stocking up for the Christmas ALREADY

Can Sir David Lewis save Christmas for Boris? PM insists he’s not worried about Britain’s supply chain crisis but brings in ex-Tesco boss nicknamed ‘Drastic Dave’ to solve it

Pay: Not known for his new job with Boris Johnson and retired from Tesco in 2020. But in May 2019 it was revealed that he landed a hefty £4.6million pay packet after overseeing a turnaround for the supermarket that involved putting thousands of jobs on the line.  

Lewis, who earned the moniker ‘Drastic Dave’ during his tenure at consumer goods giant Unilever, received a base salary of £1.25million, a £1.6million bonus and £1.3million through the grocer’s share plans. 

He was also called ‘Diamond Dave’ in the City of London – for his ability to turn a profit and turn around businesses. 

Family: Grew up in Yorkshire but moved to affluent Richmond, south-west London. He had two daughters from his first marriage but remarried to Helena.

Background: Graduated from Trent Polytechnic, now Nottingham Trent University, with a BA in business studies. 

He also attended Harvard University in 2002, where he completed an advance management programme offered by the business school.

Career history: Worked at Unilever before being appointed Tesco boss in 2014. He was head of personal care in the UK for Unilever, where he earned the nickname ‘Drastic Dave’ for slashing hundreds of jobs. A former rugby player and fitness fanatic, Mr Lewis runs marathons and triathlons.

What he said on Brexit: Mr Lewis never revealed how he voted – but had also said: ‘It is not something that would significantly disadvantage Tesco’

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One in three shoppers have already started stocking up on groceries for Christmas as Boris Johnson appointed former Tesco boss Sir Dave Lewis as his new supply chain crisis tsar.

Hundreds of thousands of panicked shoppers have already booked in their delivery slots for the festive season amid fears of empty supermarket shelves as Christmas approaches.

A survey of 1,000 consumers by The Grocer revealed that two thirds of shoppers were either worried or ‘very worried’ by potential shortages of food and drink ahead of the festive season.

Supermarkets have been ramping up orders for turkey, the trimmings and other essentials to cope with an earlier than usual rush, according to the magazine.

Retailers have warned of empty shelves and delays to gifts due to gaps in the global supply chain and a lack of HGV drivers, amid concerns of a ‘winter of discontent’ hitting the UK.

Over the past month, one in ten businesses have put up prices due to rising inflation which is yet to peak, according to economists. 

Mike Watkins, of analysts NielsenIQ, told The Grocer: ‘Shoppers tend to leave most of their Christmas grocery shopping later in November, but clearly this year we’re seeing late-November demand brought forward into October because of the concerns consumers have read and heard about, turkeys being a great example.’

Record numbers of panicked shoppers are already booking supermarket delivery slots for December amid the panic buying. 

Waitrose saw 22,000 festive slots booked by lunchtime on the first day of releasing their dates last week, while 112,000 had been booked by the end of the week.

Ocado, which is releasing slots more slowly, has sent out a ‘sorry if you haven’t been able to a Christmas Slot in time’ reply on its FAQ page.

Tesco is not releasing slots to customers on its Delivery Saver scheme until November 15 and for others on the 23 – the same dates as last year.

Elsewhere, Boris Johnson today appointed former Tesco boss Sir Dave Lewis as his new supply chain crisis tsar with a remit to clear ‘current blockages’ and ‘pre-empt potential future ones’.

The 56-year-old is nicknamed ‘Drastic Dave’ due to the lengths he will go to to turn around businesses, including job cuts and slashing prices, and ‘Diamond Dave’ because of his success at Britain’s biggest supermarket and at Unilever before that.

Mr Johnson has insisted it is not his job to ‘fix every problem in business’ caused by Brexit and the pandemic and repeatedly dismissed concerns over labour shortages, Britain’s creaking supply chain and fears over rising inflation.

But today’s appointment, welcomed by business leaders, is a sign Downing Street has growing concerns about the crisis after weeks of product shortages, queues at petrol stations and the growing threat of Christmas staples such as turkeys, pigs in blankets and gammons being scarce.

Mr Johnson has a lot riding on the festive period, having promised last week that ‘Christmas will be considerably better than last Christmas’. 

Aldi is hiring 1,500 temporary store staff to deal with the expected Christmas rush and Island, which has seen frozen turkey sales up 409 per cent compared to the same period last year, has upped its order from suppliers by 20 per cent.

Aldi recruitment director, Kelly Stokes, said: ‘We always need extra support over the busy Christmas period but this year especially, temporary store colleagues will play a vital role in keeping our shelves stocked as the nation prepares to reunite with their loved ones after missing out on festive celebrations in 2020.’ 

This afternoon France’s European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune even threatened to cut off supplies of turkeys and other goods unless continental fishermen are allowed to work in British waters. 

It is the latest threat from across the Channel in a dispute over access to rich fishing grounds from next year, including the possibility of cutting electricity supplies to Channel Islands Jersey and Guernsey. 

It came as fears were raised today of another toilet roll shortage as industry bosses warned spiralling costs will hit production – and baked beans became the latest food staple to face price increases.

Downing Street said former supermarket chief executive Sir Dave will advise the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, and work with Government officials to quickly resolve acute, short-term issues.

He will also co-chair a new supply chain advisory group and be based in the Cabinet Office. A No10 spokesman said: ‘This includes both identifying the causes of current blockages and pre-empting potential future ones, and advising on resolutions either through direct government action or through industry with Government support.’

Mr Johnson said: ‘I’m pleased that Sir David Lewis is joining the team who have been working on future-proofing our supply chains across the United Kingdom as we recover from the pandemic. There are currently global supply issues which we are working with industry to mitigate and Dave brings a wealth of experience which will help us continue to protect our businesses and supply chains.’ 

Business leaders have welcomed the appointment and said they hope it is a sign that No 10 is willing to listen to their concerns.

Hannah Essex, Co-Executive Director of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: ‘We very much welcome the appointment of Sir David Lewis. 

‘Hopefully Sir David, and the new groups he co-chairs, will be able to hit the ground running and urgently address some of the critical issues damaging business conditions. The increasing pressure that businesses, especially SMEs, are facing around supply chain costs and disruption, labour shortages, price rises, soaring energy bills and taxes is becoming dire’.

In a string of developments yesterday:

  • The National Grid prompted fears of blackouts with a warning over electricity supplies this winter, and more energy firms were expected to collapse, with customers being switched to suppliers charging higher tariffs;
  • It was claimed the UK would become more reliant on dirty coal to keep the lights on, just as it hosts a UN climate change conference;
  • Experts warned that Britain faced an inflation shock that would squeeze family finances and could derail the economic recovery;
  • One City analyst said inflation was heading to levels not seen for 30 years, while a think-tank warned of a big increase in council tax;
  • The National Energy Action said up to 1.5 million more households could be plunged into fuel poverty if the energy cap soars;
  • Boris Johnson faced a Cabinet backlash over his war with business, with five ministers telling the Daily Mail they wanted the PM to adopt a more ‘pragmatic’ approach; 
  •  Industry chiefs said the switch to ‘greener’ petrol last month was a ‘contributory factor’ to the recent fuel crisis.
Former Tesco chief executive Sir David Lewis has been appointed as the Government's supply chain adviser

Former Tesco chief executive Sir David Lewis has been appointed as the Government's supply chain adviser

Former Tesco chief executive Sir David Lewis has been appointed as the Government’s supply chain adviser

A shopper looks at nearly empty shelves of pre-cooked meat products in Sainsbury's, north London yesterday

A shopper looks at nearly empty shelves of pre-cooked meat products in Sainsbury's, north London yesterday

A shopper looks at nearly empty shelves of pre-cooked meat products in Sainsbury’s, north London yesterday

Not again! Andrew Large, director-general at the Confederation of Paper Industries, said its members are being ‘affected very, very severely’ by cost increases, with toilet roll and packaging among the items that could be hit hardest. Pictured are shelves for toilet roll last year following panic buying

Baked beans

Baked beans

Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz,

Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz,

Baked beans will have to rise in price due to widespread global inflation, Kraft Heinz CEO Miguel Patricio warned today 

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Will the lights stay on this winter? National Grid warns of a greater risk of blackouts and says electricity supplies will be ‘tight’ this year after undersea cable fire 

A map showing the various electricity cables that bring in electricity to the UK from the rest of Europe. The IFA link is seen bottom right in green

A map showing the various electricity cables that bring in electricity to the UK from the rest of Europe. The IFA link is seen bottom right in green

A map showing the various electricity cables that bring in electricity to the UK from the rest of Europe. The IFA link is seen bottom right in green 

Britain faces ‘tight’ electricity supplies this winter after a fire disrupted a vital cable bringing energy from France – loading fresh pressure onto a system that is already being stretched to the limit by high demand and limited supply.  

The National Grid said the incident at a connector station in Kent last month had cut the amount of energy that can be imported via the 1FA undersea cable – which runs under the English Channel to Calais – by half. 

By October 23, 1GW of power should be restored following repairs, but the full capacity of 2GW will not be reached until more work due to last until March next year.  

European wholesale gas and power prices have rocketed this year due to lower-than-usual gas stocks this summer, reduced supply from Russia, the onset of colder temperatures and infrastructure outages.

High UK wholesale gas prices have helped to lift wholesale power prices as gas plants account for around 40% of electricity generation in Britain. 

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Andrew Large, director-general at the Confederation of Paper Industries, said its members are being ‘affected very, very severely’ by cost increases, with toilet roll and packaging among the items that could be hit hardest.

He said: ‘They’re seeing their costs go up through the roof. It’s damaging their profitability and in some cases it’s causing them to manage their production rates so as not to expose themselves to the very, very highest costs.’

Meanwhile, baked beans have become the latest victims of soaring inflation – with the head of manufacturer Kraft Heinz today revealing the cost of the breakfast staple will have to go up.  

Miguel Patricio, CEO of Kraft Heinz, which makes a range of other products including Philadelphia spread and Capri Sun, said that inflation was widespread globally and costs were rising.

‘In previous years there was inflation in coffee because of a bad crop or a bad crop in beans – what is different now is that this inflation is across the board,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. 

‘So it’s impossible to navigate through this moment of inflation without increasing prices. It’s up to us, and to the industry and to other companies to try to minimise these price increases.’

One in ten British businesses put up their prices in the past month due to the rising costs, the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) latest business survey for September shows.

Meanwhile, nearly a third of companies have seen a higher-than-normal increase in running costs and many have been forced to pass this on to customers.

Companies in construction, services and manufacturing were the worst hit as 10% said they needed to raise prices last month, up from 8% per cent in mid-August and 4% early in 2021. 

The data showed that, of these, nearly a quarter, 23%, were retailers in consumer-facing sectors, and 25% were in the manufacturing industry. 

The stark data came as the soaring cost of electricity and gas hit industries such as steel, glass and chemicals, meaning consumers will soon be paying more for a huge number of products including cars, building materials, food packaging and even toilet roll.  

Factories have moved to reduce their output to save on costs as the price of energy went through the roof with some demanding Government support to keep running.

It came as the Bank of England’s new chief economist, Huw Pill, used his first interview in the in the job to warn that Britain faces a ‘greater than expected’ rise in inflation over the coming months, which with further hammer households and businesses.

Mr Pill said he expects increasing costs of living ‘should subside as the pandemic recedes’, but with inflation already at a nine-year high of 3.2%, he gave the chilling warning: ‘The magnitude and duration of the transient inflation spike is proving greater than expected.’

Britons and their businesses are being battered by a ‘perfect storm’ of inflation and supply chain problems with experts predicted inflation could still reach 5% by Christmas. 

Experts have warned that dramatically rising wholesale prices for energy could push average annual bills through the £2,000 barrier for the first time. 

As the gas crisis escalated, industry analysts suggested the current energy cap of £1,277 would rise by as much as £800.

The chief executive of Ofgem – which sets the cap for consumers – warned that its level would have to ‘adjust’ in April next year following months of rising wholesale gas prices. 

It comes as Vladimir Putin was accused of holding Europe to ransom.

Experts said the Russian president had substantial scope to boost gas supplies to the West – but he was using the issue as leverage in a bid to win approval for a new pipeline.

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already forced many small suppliers in the UK out of business.

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng last night insisted there would be no bailout for failing firms, adding that the Government’s plans to decarbonise the UK’s power supply would protect customers in the long term.

 

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already forced many small suppliers in the UK out of business

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already forced many small suppliers in the UK out of business

The surge in wholesale gas prices has already forced many small suppliers in the UK out of business

Vladimir Putin was accused of holding Europe to ransom. Experts said the Russian president had substantial scope to boost gas supplies to the West – but he was using the issue as leverage in a bid to win approval for a new pipeline.

Vladimir Putin was accused of holding Europe to ransom. Experts said the Russian president had substantial scope to boost gas supplies to the West – but he was using the issue as leverage in a bid to win approval for a new pipeline.

Vladimir Putin was accused of holding Europe to ransom. Experts said the Russian president had substantial scope to boost gas supplies to the West – but he was using the issue as leverage in a bid to win approval for a new pipeline.








School dinner choice is slashed and staff told to stockpile ‘long-life, dried, tinned and frozen food’ amid fears suppliers will struggle to keep children fed with shortages this winter 

School dinner choices are being slashed and staff advised to stockpile essential food supplies amid fears suppliers will struggle to keep children properly fed this winter.

ISS, one of the UK’s largest canteen suppliers, has reportedly told 450 schools it is having issues with ‘sourcing, packing and distribution’, predicting that the problem will ‘get worse’ over the winter and will continue until February.

School canteens were advised by ISS in an email to stockpile ‘long life, dried, tinned and frozen’ products to make sure children can still be fed in a ‘worse case scenario’ this winter, according to ITV News.

Meanwhile, food wholesaler BidFood has warned that it is experiencing ‘significant’ supply pressures and struggling to recruit HGV drivers, blaming the issues on the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit.

In Lancashire, thousands of pupils are being offered a reduced menu, The Times reported.  

‘One school this week has not had a delivery of sandwiches. Another, no soup was sent. One school cook has even reported going out and purchasing additional items out of her own money as she was concerned about the choices on offer,’ Samara Barnes, a Labour councillor, told Lancashire Live.

‘This is a grave concern, especially given the fact that we know some children rely on their school dinner as their only meal of the day.’

 

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Last night Ofgem appeared to open the door to a rethink on the way the cap works, with chief executive Jonathan Brearley saying: ‘Although the gas price rise is unprecedented today, we will need to plan on the basis that shocks like this could happen again.’

The current energy bill price cap is set at £1,277 a year based on typical use, but industry analysts suggest it could rise by anything from £500 to £800 next April, based on the current market.

Mr Brearley has made clear that a dramatic surge in gas prices, which leapt 60 per cent at one stage this week, will push up bills when the cap is reviewed. Some energy firms have been pushing for the cap to be ditched entirely or raised much sooner.

Mr Brearley said: ‘For millions of households the price cap has played its part in mitigating the consequences of the current gas price rises.

‘But it is designed to reflect fair costs and therefore will need to adjust over time to reflect the changes in fuel costs that we are seeing today.

‘It is hard to predict how long gas prices will stay high, but we do expect significant upward pressure on prices.’

Industry analyst Dr Craig Lowrey, of Cornwall Insight, said prices were likely to stay at a record high through to next winter and beyond.

The National Grid says the gap between energy supply and demand this year is likely to be at its lowest level for six years.

The organisation said it was confident blackouts can be avoided, but government energy adviser Tom Edwards said: ‘If we have a very cold winter there is a chance of blackouts.

‘We are reliant on imports from other countries and if the flows are not forthcoming then as a country we will have to take action to reduce demand.

‘Some large industrial companies like car manufacturers may have to turn off.’

Major industrial groups say soaring prices are already forcing some heavy industries, such as steel, fertiliser and brick manufacturers, to scale back production and, potentially, shut down.

They are calling for government support of the kind that was given to banks during the 2008 financial crash.

Mr Kwarteng said last night: ‘Protecting consumers from rising global gas prices is my top priority.’

Soaring energy bills, paying more at the pump, NO food and empty shelves – how millions are being clobbered by rising cost of living that will leave them THOUSANDS out of pocket 

Energy bills  

Millions face a looming winter energy crisis and a warning that gas and electricity bills could surge by an extra £500 a year. 

A shock 60per cent surge in wholesale gas prices at the beginning of this week – on top of earlier increases of 600% since January.

National Grid has also warned of tight electricity supplies as the amount of energy from renewable sources such as wind, dropped.

The current UK energy price cap, set by industry regulator Ofgem, is £1,277 – but analysts Cornwall Insight predict it will rise to £1,660 when it is reviewed on April 1. Today the cheapest fixed gas and electricity deal available in the UK is £1,700 – a month ago it was £1,177.   Experts believe households will pay £500 to £800 more for energy in 2022.

The cost of energy is also hitting industry, who say they will have to pass it on to customers with it likely to hit products like cars, building materials, chemicals and even toilet rolls. 

Fuel prices

Petrol prices have soared to an eight-year high last month as filling stations cashed in on the fuel crisis.

Average pump prices hit 136.8p a litre for unleaded – 22p more expensive than in September 2020. It meant the cost of filling the typical 55-litre tank in a family car was £12 dearer than a year ago, said the RAC.

Separately, an AA study found some forecourts are currently charging up to 163.5p a litre for unleaded – 27p above the average. This would add a further £15 to the cost of filling up.  

House prices

Growth in British house prices gathered speed in September when they rose by 1.7% from August, mortgage lender Halifax said on Thursday.

In annual terms, house price growth also accelerated to 7.4% from 7.2% in August. The average price of a detached home has surged by £41,000 over the past year as buyers have searched for more space, the research found. 

Taxes 

Council tax may need to rise by up to 5 per cent a year for the next three years to keep services running and pay for social care reforms.

That would add £299 on to the average council tax bill for a Band D household.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that under current government spending plans, a rise of at least 3.6 per cent on council tax bills will be needed per year just for town halls to keep services running at the levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic.

Such a rise would come on top of the 1.25 per cent increase in National Insurance announced last month. 

Supermarket food shop

The average household spent £277 a month on food expenses, but the latest inflation reading suggests this could increase to £285 a month this year. 

Analysis by MailOnline of prices today compared to those in March 2020 found many staple goods have gone up in cost include mushrooms, spring onions, cabbage, salmon, soup, kiwi fruit, apples and mineral water. 

Among the biggest price rises are eggs, sausages, fizzy drinks, fruit and bottled water; 

Price of a pint

The average price of a pint in the pub across the country could soon pass £4, the ONS has said. In London the price is already through that barrier.   

And the other factors driving price rises….  

Inflation

Prices are rising at the fastest pace in at least a quarter of a century as businesses pass on the costs of labour, materials, shipping and energy to consumers.

Firms in the services sector, which range from transport companies and hairdressers to pubs and restaurants, hiked their prices in September at the fastest rate since data began in 1996, according to the Purchasing Manufacturers’ Index (PMI) from IHS Markit.

Manufacturers are also putting up prices as inflation once again stalks the global economy.

Inflation hit 3.2pc in August and is widely expected to surge past 4pc by the end of the year in a headache for Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

HGV crisis 

Britain is struggling to deliver good and move items die to a shortage of drivers. Large numbers have retired and some have returned to the EU because of covid and Brexit. 

The Government has set out an action plan over the weekend to address lorry driver shortages, currently running at 100,000 in the UK and 400,000 on mainland Europe.

It will see 5,000 temporary visas made available to foreign HGV drivers, while a £10million skills plan will help train 4,000 more truckers.

This week sources claimed only 27 drivers had applied for a new visa – but Boris Johnsons insisted it was 127. At the same time, tens of thousands of Britons were unable to take HGV driving lessons and tests during the lockdowns, which means the UK has missed out on a generation of skilled recruits.

Cost of materials

Wholesale gas prices have soared to record highs across Europe while the price of oil has almost doubled in the past year to close to $83 a barrel – the most expensive since 2018.

Copper has jumped by more than a third over the past year which, when combined with the shortage of semiconductors, will bump up the prices of electrical products. And cotton has also spiked above $1 a pound for the first time in more than a decade, rising more than 42pc over the past year, which could mean more expensive clothes.

Even arabica coffee has jumped almost 73pc over the past year to levels not seen since 2014, meaning Britons could soon be feeling the pinch when visiting their local cafe.

Disrupted global supply chain 

The cost of bringing in container loads of supplies, including festive products, from China has soared this year.  There has also been a major issue with containers being stuck in Europe rather than in Asia as shipping was disrupted by covid. It means that UK companies are struggling to get products made and shipped easily with long waiting times.   

Food shortages 

Farms are pouring milk down the drain at the same time as McDonald’s and supermarkets cannot get supplies due to the lorry driver shortage.

There are not enough tanker drivers to collect milk from farms, while the dairies have too few delivery drivers to transport supplies to high streets.

At the same time, farmers are complaining that a chronic lack of workers to pick and pack crops means fresh produce is being left to rot in the fields.

Supermarkets are having to concentrate on moving fresh products rather than many dry goods because of a lack of trucks.  

Pig farmers have started culling livestock amid warnings from food firms the drastic measures will hit key ingredients.

Meat industry leaders say a lack of skilled butchers means abattoirs are refusing to accept pigs for slaughter, leading to fewer pork products and reduced choice.

This is expected to hit supplies of gammons and pigs in blankets in the run-up to Christmas.

The National Pig Association (NPA) and National Farmers’ Union (NFU) are warning that tens of thousands of pigs – possibly 120,000 – may have to be culled on farms and incinerated.

Labour shortages 

Businesses have complained about difficulties recruiting staff from HGV drivers to baristas and warehouse workers.

But latest figures show unemployment stood at 1.55million at the end of July.

That was before the end of the furlough scheme this month which analysts believed could have put as many as 250,000 on the dole queue.

Critics say bosses have come to rely on uncontrolled migration from Europe providing a stream of cheap labour and should instead raise wages to fill staff shortages. 

 

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Will the lights stay on this winter? National Grid warns of a greater risk of blackouts and says electricity supplies will be ‘tight’ this year after undersea cable fire 

A map showing the various electricity cables that bring in electricity to the UK from the rest of Europe. The IFA link is seen bottom right in green

A map showing the various electricity cables that bring in electricity to the UK from the rest of Europe. The IFA link is seen bottom right in green

A map showing the various electricity cables that bring in electricity to the UK from the rest of Europe. The IFA link is seen bottom right in green 

Britain faces ‘tight’ electricity supplies this winter after a fire disrupted a vital cable bringing energy from France – loading fresh pressure onto a system that is already being stretched to the limit by high demand and limited supply.  

The National Grid said the incident at a connector station in Kent last month had cut the amount of energy that can be imported via the 1FA undersea cable – which runs under the English Channel to Calais – by half. 

By October 23, 1GW of power should be restored following repairs, but the full capacity of 2GW will not be reached until more work due to last until March next year.  

European wholesale gas and power prices have rocketed this year due to lower-than-usual gas stocks this summer, reduced supply from Russia, the onset of colder temperatures and infrastructure outages.

High UK wholesale gas prices have helped to lift wholesale power prices as gas plants account for around 40% of electricity generation in Britain. 

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Analysis of price rises in the last year shows the cost of a second-hand car has risen more than £1,600, a tank of fuel is up more than £10 and the price of a pint of beer is creeping close to £4

Analysis of price rises in the last year shows the cost of a second-hand car has risen more than £1,600, a tank of fuel is up more than £10 and the price of a pint of beer is creeping close to £4

Analysis of price rises in the last year shows the cost of a second-hand car has risen more than £1,600, a tank of fuel is up more than £10 and the price of a pint of beer is creeping close to £4

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Exclusive research for the Daily Mail by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also yesterday revealed how inflation will cost the typical family of four an extra £1,800 by the end of this year. Meanwhile, a retired couple can expect to see living costs rise by more than £1,100, and a lower income couple could be stung by nearly £900

Soaring energy bills, paying more at the pump, NO food and empty shelves – how millions are being clobbered by rising cost of living that will leave them THOUSANDS out of pocket 

Energy bills  

Millions face a looming winter energy crisis and a warning that gas and electricity bills could surge by an extra £500 a year. 

A shock 60per cent surge in wholesale gas prices at the beginning of this week – on top of earlier increases of 600% since January.

National Grid has also warned of tight electricity supplies as the amount of energy from renewable sources such as wind, dropped.

The current UK energy price cap, set by industry regulator Ofgem, is £1,277 – but analysts Cornwall Insight predict it will rise to £1,660 when it is reviewed on April 1. Today the cheapest fixed gas and electricity deal available in the UK is £1,700 – a month ago it was £1,177.   Experts believe households will pay £500 to £800 more for energy in 2022.

The cost of energy is also hitting industry, who say they will have to pass it on to customers with it likely to hit products like cars, building materials, chemicals and even toilet rolls. 

Fuel prices

Petrol prices have soared to an eight-year high last month as filling stations cashed in on the fuel crisis.

Average pump prices hit 136.8p a litre for unleaded – 22p more expensive than in September 2020. It meant the cost of filling the typical 55-litre tank in a family car was £12 dearer than a year ago, said the RAC.

Separately, an AA study found some forecourts are currently charging up to 163.5p a litre for unleaded – 27p above the average. This would add a further £15 to the cost of filling up.  

House prices

Growth in British house prices gathered speed in September when they rose by 1.7% from August, mortgage lender Halifax said on Thursday.

In annual terms, house price growth also accelerated to 7.4% from 7.2% in August. The average price of a detached home has surged by £41,000 over the past year as buyers have searched for more space, the research found. 

Taxes 

Council tax may need to rise by up to 5 per cent a year for the next three years to keep services running and pay for social care reforms.

That would add £299 on to the average council tax bill for a Band D household.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said that under current government spending plans, a rise of at least 3.6 per cent on council tax bills will be needed per year just for town halls to keep services running at the levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic.

Such a rise would come on top of the 1.25 per cent increase in National Insurance announced last month. 

Supermarket food shop

The average household spent £277 a month on food expenses, but the latest inflation reading suggests this could increase to £285 a month this year. 

Analysis by MailOnline of prices today compared to those in March 2020 found many staple goods have gone up in cost include mushrooms, spring onions, cabbage, salmon, soup, kiwi fruit, apples and mineral water. 

Among the biggest price rises are eggs, sausages, fizzy drinks, fruit and bottled water; 

Price of a pint

The average price of a pint in the pub across the country could soon pass £4, the ONS has said. In London the price is already through that barrier.   

And the other factors driving price rises….  

Inflation

Prices are rising at the fastest pace in at least a quarter of a century as businesses pass on the costs of labour, materials, shipping and energy to consumers.

Firms in the services sector, which range from transport companies and hairdressers to pubs and restaurants, hiked their prices in September at the fastest rate since data began in 1996, according to the Purchasing Manufacturers’ Index (PMI) from IHS Markit.

Manufacturers are also putting up prices as inflation once again stalks the global economy.

Inflation hit 3.2pc in August and is widely expected to surge past 4pc by the end of the year in a headache for Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

HGV crisis 

Britain is struggling to deliver good and move items die to a shortage of drivers. Large numbers have retired and some have returned to the EU because of covid and Brexit. 

The Government has set out an action plan over the weekend to address lorry driver shortages, currently running at 100,000 in the UK and 400,000 on mainland Europe.

It will see 5,000 temporary visas made available to foreign HGV drivers, while a £10million skills plan will help train 4,000 more truckers.

This week sources claimed only 27 drivers had applied for a new visa – but Boris Johnsons insisted it was 127. At the same time, tens of thousands of Britons were unable to take HGV driving lessons and tests during the lockdowns, which means the UK has missed out on a generation of skilled recruits.

Cost of materials

Wholesale gas prices have soared to record highs across Europe while the price of oil has almost doubled in the past year to close to $83 a barrel – the most expensive since 2018.

Copper has jumped by more than a third over the past year which, when combined with the shortage of semiconductors, will bump up the prices of electrical products. And cotton has also spiked above $1 a pound for the first time in more than a decade, rising more than 42pc over the past year, which could mean more expensive clothes.

Even arabica coffee has jumped almost 73pc over the past year to levels not seen since 2014, meaning Britons could soon be feeling the pinch when visiting their local cafe.

Disrupted global supply chain 

The cost of bringing in container loads of supplies, including festive products, from China has soared this year.  There has also been a major issue with containers being stuck in Europe rather than in Asia as shipping was disrupted by covid. It means that UK companies are struggling to get products made and shipped easily with long waiting times.   

Food shortages 

Farms are pouring milk down the drain at the same time as McDonald’s and supermarkets cannot get supplies due to the lorry driver shortage.

There are not enough tanker drivers to collect milk from farms, while the dairies have too few delivery drivers to transport supplies to high streets.

At the same time, farmers are complaining that a chronic lack of workers to pick and pack crops means fresh produce is being left to rot in the fields.

Supermarkets are having to concentrate on moving fresh products rather than many dry goods because of a lack of trucks.  

Pig farmers have started culling livestock amid warnings from food firms the drastic measures will hit key ingredients.

Meat industry leaders say a lack of skilled butchers means abattoirs are refusing to accept pigs for slaughter, leading to fewer pork products and reduced choice.

This is expected to hit supplies of gammons and pigs in blankets in the run-up to Christmas.

The National Pig Association (NPA) and National Farmers’ Union (NFU) are warning that tens of thousands of pigs – possibly 120,000 – may have to be culled on farms and incinerated.

Labour shortages 

Businesses have complained about difficulties recruiting staff from HGV drivers to baristas and warehouse workers.

But latest figures show unemployment stood at 1.55million at the end of July.

That was before the end of the furlough scheme this month which analysts believed could have put as many as 250,000 on the dole queue.

Critics say bosses have come to rely on uncontrolled migration from Europe providing a stream of cheap labour and should instead raise wages to fill staff shortages. 

 

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Why is Putin’s £8.1bn Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline so controversial?

The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is set to double Russia’s natural gas shipments to Germany, Europe’s largest consumer of gas, bypassing Ukraine and depriving the EU member state of essential gas transit fees of $1.5 billion per year. 

Russia is already the second-largest supplier of gas to the EU behind Norway, and the £.8.1billion will increase Europe’s energy dependence on Russia and Moscow’s geopolitical clout.

Donald Trump was opposed to the project and the EU has yet to sign off on it.

But over the summer officials in Washington and Berlin reportedly reached an agreement that would allow the Nord Stream 2 pipeline – which was roughly within 62 miles of completion as of June – to finish construction.

U.S. officials under Presidents Obama and Trump opposed the pipeline, arguing it would strengthen Moscow’s influence across Europe. 

Nord Stream already includes one pipeline running from Russia to Germany. Both are owned by a company whose majority shareholder is Russian state gas company Gazprom. 

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