The British are currently having to deal with a number of annoyances. What is not quite working on the island often has to do with the Brexit.
The economic situation in Great Britain is worse than it has been for a long time: The recession has officially begun, inflation is more than eleven percent, and real wages are falling. Finance Minister Jeremy Hunt wants to fill the empty coffers with around 55 billion pounds (63 billion euros) in tax increases and spending cuts.
Over the winter, the government is at least cushioning the particularly skyrocketing consumer prices for electricity and gas – but from April, the British will probably have to dig much deeper into their own pockets.
Without electricity in winter?
While there was hardly anything as heatedly discussed in Germany in the summer as the filling level of gas storage facilities, the UK was distracted with the regular fall of its prime ministers. Then, all of a sudden, the British power grid operator issued a warning: If there wasn’t enough gas, in the worst case scenario, the power would have to be temporarily cut off.
In an “unlikely scenario,” households and businesses could face planned three-hour power cuts in some cases in order to be able to ensure the stability of the grid, the National Grid Electricity System Operator (ESO) said.
Trains at a standstill
A few months ago, British media wrote of a “summer of strikes.” Now it is long over, but strikes are still going on. Several trains are regularly at a standstill because employees of the largely privatized rail companies cannot reach agreement with their employers. Royal Mail employees are also on strike, so mail is often delayed.
Lack of skilled workers
Economic recovery does not work without skilled workers: However, especially in service industries – such as catering or logistics – the UK lacks workers, partly because there are no easy visas for them to enter the British labor market.
Before Brexit, EU citizens often worked in these jobs, but many of them have since left the island. “What we need is people doing the jobs that the population doesn’t want to do,” economist Charles Goodhart recently told the Financial Times.
The next pandemic
The Corona pandemic has largely been declared over by the British – regardless of the infection situation – and now the next epidemic is plaguing the country. With more than 200 confirmed cases, the U.K. is suffering its largest outbreak of bird flu to date, according to the Department of the Environment. The virus is hitting turkeys, among other birds – and thus a traditional Christmas meal.
Nearly a third of the annual turkey production of 11 million birds has been culled, the Daily Mail newspaper reported back in late October. In addition, more than 750,000 hens have been killed since the beginning of October, according to the British Free Range Egg Producers Association (BFREPA), which is why eggs are in short supply. Supermarkets are therefore already rationing sales.
Sewage on the coast
Anyone traveling to the British coast must be prepared for an unpleasant experience here and there, which has repeatedly caused outrage in recent weeks and months:
Excess wastewater is allowed to be discharged directly into the sea and rivers when the pipes to the sewage treatment plants are too full after heavy rainfall – quite a few sewage treatment plants recently used this option. As a result, dozens of beaches were closed due to pollution.
Housing in disrepair
While rents are skyrocketing to unprecedented heights, particularly in the capital, London, little is being done to maintain and insulate properties. “At least” tens of thousands of homes in the country are unsafe because of damp and mold, Construction Minister Michael Gove admitted in a BBC interview.
“We know there are a significant number of properties, some of which were built in the 1960s and 1970s and are in a poor state of repair,” the Conservative politician said. They urgently need to be renovated or repaired, he added.
The problem with Brexit
The fact that trade with the EU has slumped and post-Brexit trade deals such as those with Japan or Australia have so far failed to live up to their promise makes it clear: Brexit is crippling the kingdom. The independent economic watchdog OBR stresses that Brexit has had a “significant adverse impact on trade” with the EU and is causing lasting damage to the economy.
Public support has fallen to a record low, according to a poll. 56 percent of people in the UK now think Brexit was a mistake, according to the polling institute Yougov. Of those who themselves voted to leave, only 70 percent still hold to their opinion at the time – fewer than ever before.