Today, we discuss the Tier 4 lockdown for the south over Christmas, the concerns of food sellers and retailers over fears of shipping port disruption, and how consumer confidence has gone up despite the lockdown. Enjoy!
It's tier 4 for the south
The government has cancelled festive plans for millions of people, bringing in new Tier 4 restrictions in large parts of the country under a two-week coronavirus lockdown from today. Fears over a new, more infectious strain of COVID-19 have prompted the tough measures, affecting those in London, most of the South East, and many areas of eastern England. In Tier 4, different households have been banned from mixing over the festive period, causing frustration and disappointment among the many who had been prepared to take advantage of the prime minister's previous promise to allow people from three households to spend up to five days together in 'bubbles'. For the rest of England, up to three households will be allowed to gather for just one day - Christmas Day itself - as opposed to 23-27 December. It looks like it's going to be a Skype Christmas for many of us across the south, and let's not even think about New Year. Hopefully by the 30th, things will be getting into the party spirit.
Retailers and food sellers voice concerns over port disruption
Retailers and food manufacturers have called on MPs to investigate the current congestion at container ports which has been causing delays to Christmas orders and disruption to attempts to build up stock ahead of Brexit. The impact of Covid-19 on global shipping schedules and the shipping workforce along with a shortage of empty containers has created significant disruption at many of the UK's key ports in recent weeks. The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) point to the significant impact that disruption is having on shipping-related costs, noting that container spot rates have jumped considerably “ in one instance, by 170% from this time last year. Food manufacturers have been also badly affected by the delays, some losing sales due to missed retail promotions in the run-up to the Christmas period “ one company has lost over £1 million in sales due to the delays.
Consumer confidence is on the up
Consumer confidence in the UK has risen this month following the start of Covid-19 vaccination programme. GfK's Consumer Confidence Index increased by seven points to -26. The index measuring people's personal finances forecast over the next 12 months rose by eight points to 3 while the measure for expectations for the general economic situation over the same period climbed by 15 points to -35.Meanwhile, GfK's major purchase index increased by six points to -22.Many might be surprised that we are ending 2020 on a much brighter note after a roller-coaster of a year. It's safe to say that consumers are looking for good news and they have found it in the form of the UK's Covid-19 vaccination programme getting underway. While confidence is still in negative figures it appears that we are finally heading back in the right direction.