https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/201 ... atastrophe
Guardian wrote:The British economy needs a net inward migration flow of 200,000 people a year, double the Conservative target, if it is to avoid the “catastrophic economic consequences” linked to Brexit, a study by an employer-backed thinktank has said.
The Global Future report says the UK’s low productivity, ageing population and shortage of labour in key areas, such as the NHS, show that net migration of 200,000 will be needed annually.
The report, backed by three employer groups, criticises Labour and the Conservatives for refusing to be honest with the British public about the level of migration the UK requires. It warns that if the UK refuses to be flexible about its sources of labour, it could face a decade of slow growth similar to that of the Japanese economy.
The Conservatives recommitted themselves to a target of limiting net migration to tens of thousands in their manifesto on Thursday, promising to double the cost to an employer of hiring a skilled worker from overseas.
The net migration target recommended by Global Future is broadly in line with actual levels from 2000 onwards.
The figure, covering both EU and non-EU migration, is based on macroeconomic analysis and a bottom-up, sector-by-sector examination of existing labour shortages.
The report argues the labour market crisis is likely to become acute in the short term unless ministers give an early signal in the Brexit talks on the UK’s plans for EU residents and immigration.
The report says that even with a later retirement age, Britain faces a demographic time bomb, and needs migration of 130,000 a year to maintain the working population at its current level.
“The dependency ratio – the number of people of working age (16-64) versus those over 65 – is worsening. Between 1950 and 2015 this fell from 5.5 to 3.5. Only the recent increase in net migration has prevented it from falling even more precipitously,” it says.
“Between 2000-2050, the number of people over 65 will double, whilst the number of over-85s will quadruple. The working population would need to double in order to maintain the ratio at its current level.”
The report points out that the government’s own forecasting body, the Office of Budget Responsibility, has suggested migration is critical to reducing the fiscal impact of an ageing population. The OBR had suggested “spending on pensions, healthcare and social care means that in the absence of migration, debt as a percentage of GDP would increase from 75% in 2012 to 175% by 2057”.
The report also predicts the demand for skilled labour across social care, construction and nursing alone will require an extra 47,000 migrant workers a year, higher than the current migration of skilled, predominantly EU workers across all sectors.
In unskilled industries, such as hospitality, the industry will remain heavily dependent on migration, with the report predicting a continuing requirement for an extra 60,000 migrants a year.
Global Future points out that 22,000 of the 115,000-strong permanent workforce in agriculture come from the EU, supplemented by 60,000 seasonal workers. In food processing, 120,000 of the 400,000-strong workforce are from the EU.
Overall, it suggests, UK industry will need at least 100,000 work-related migrants a year with the remainder likely to be students and people coming to the UK for family reasons.
Gurnek Bains, Global Future’s founder and chief executive, said: “In this general election political leaders have failed to challenge the assumption that less immigration would be good for Britain. It might help particular politicians win elections but voters and our national interests will be the losers. There are now political leaders from across the political spectrum who either pretend lower immigration will solve every problem or connive in this deceit. These politicians are not only selling voters short – they are selling our country short too.”
Global Future has Mike Couple, the chief executive of Sainsburys, the Labour peer Spencer Livermore, and Evelyn Bourke, the chief executive of Bupa, on its advisory board.
The Brexit secretary, David Davis, suggested on Friday that the economy and public services were dependent on getting a good deal from the negotiations to leave the European Union.
Speaking on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, Davis played down the prospects of walking away from the negotiations if a good deal was not on offer, as Theresa May has threatened. But he also let slip how much was resting on securing a favourable outcome.
“My aim and my expectation is that we are going to get a free trade agreement, we are going to get a decent agreement with them,” he said. “And that’s the foundation. We get that, then you get the economy right, then you can pay for public services. That’s the way it works.”
His words suggest a possible willingness to compromise with Brussels after the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, voiced his concerns that the refusal of member states to soften their demands over the size of Britain’s “divorce bill” could lead to a collapse in talks.
https://www.theguardian.com/business/20 ... tel-survey
Price rises caused by Brexit a big worry for UK consumers, survey finds
Four out of five fear rising expense of household essentials such as food, drink and clothing, according to Mintel report
British consumers are bracing themselves for an expensive and uncertain post-Brexit future, with four out of five fearing price rises on household essentials such as food, drink and clothing, a survey has revealed.
Eighty-three percent of Britons admit they are concerned about price hikes in goods and services, while 59% are most worried about the soaring cost of groceries, according to a poll for Mintel’s 27th annual British Lifestyles report. Spiralling holiday costs are a concern for 35%, with 26% fearing higher prices for clothing and shoes.
As shoppers have become used to ultra-low food prices following several years of deflation, impending price rises could prove painful for household budgets, the report warns. The slump in the value of sterling following the Brexit vote last June has pushed up the prices of imports, especially of food and clothing.
With food prices widely expected to increase in 2017, average spending on grocery shopping looks likely to increase unless shoppers find ways to maintain spending through trading down or reducing waste.
Britons have also become less materialistic, the report notes, prioritising spending on leisure activities and experiences over material possessions in what is dubbed “the experience economy”.
Despite political turbulence following the vote to leave the EU, Mintel said consumer spending edged up 3.7% last year to £1.2tn. While growth was seen in nearly all the 17 sectors tracked by Mintel, it was notably lower across all fast-moving consumer goods markets, reflecting supermarket price wars and the impact of discounters Aldi and Lidl. By 2021, it is projected that Britons will spend £1.4tn per annum – equivalent to 17% growth over the next five years.
Beyond concerns over rising prices, Britons are also fretting about “bigger picture” issues. The research (from an online poll of 2,000 people aged 16 and over) was carried out in February before Theresa May called the snap general election. But as many as 81% of UK consumers are concerned about the future health of the NHS, while 68% are worried about the UK economy and 67% are nervous about the state of the environment.
In contrast, less than half of all adults (48%) are worried about their ability to pay the bills and less than two in five (37%) are concerned about the burden of personal debt.
“Our research underlines particular concern about the rising cost of in-home food, and inflation is undoubtedly going to squeeze household budgets,” said Jack Duckett, the senior consumer lifestyles analyst at Mintel. “However, broader consumer confidence is still relatively strong. Despite rising prices, most people still expect their finances to hold up well over the next year. It’s the bigger picture issues that the UK faces, such as the NHS and the economy, that are the main concern, rather than people’s own finances.”
Unpicking some notable trends, the report highlights the impact of consumers’ shift towards healthier eating. Fresh fish, nuts, popcorn and “free-from” foods were all star performers with sales increases in 2016, while sales of pasta, pre-packed bread and processed poultry and meat all slumped.
The drive to cut sugar in British diets has led to increased sales of bottled water. Half (48%) of bottled water drinkers admitted concerns over sugar had prompted them to make the switch, triggering sales growth of 9% in 2016 to £2.2bn.
Pre-packed bread remains the most troubled segment of the bread and baked goods market, the report noted, with sales in value terms estimated to have fallen by 10% in 2016 to £1.49bn. Declining tea sales are expected to continue – with traditional teabags losing out to green, fruit and herb varieties – while a deluge of cheaper, Nespresso-compatible coffee pods have shaken up the sector for consumers wanting to recreate “coffee shop” versions of their favourite beverage at home.
In beauty products and toiletries, 2016 proved challenging for the hair removal market, the report said, as more young women chose to shun shavers. Mintel’s data shows that 83% of women aged 16 to 24 agree there is too much pressure on women to remove or groom body hair, while sales of shaving and hair removal products fell 5% to £567m.
But savvy Britons keen to get away from it all will be putting more legwork into finding a holiday destination this year, with over half (53%) saying Brexit will force them to look for deals and consider cheaper options such as UK staycations.
I've seen about a £4 increase per week on my food shop; only thing that has reduced in price is organic milk by 10p. Funny how sales have increased at a time fresh fish is bloody expensive. Frozen portion sizes meanwhile have shrunk.