'Winter of discontent' warning from businesses over supply shortages

Supply chain challenges threaten to create a ‘winter of discontent’ for both businesses and consumers, it has been warned.

A perfect storm of temporary and structural supply chain challenges, from changing Brexit regulations to production delays, are set to cause widespread disruption in the coming months, business leaders have said.

The latest Business Outlook Tracker from professional services firm Grant Thornton showed that one in five mid-sized businesses said they are finding it harder to move products around the UK and across the world because of the ongoing issues.

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Supply issues are continuing to impact business and consumers alike.

While not ranked individually within the top issues, collectively, over half of respondents who said they have been negatively affected said problems relating to a lack of available workers was a major blocker.

Rachel Engwell, Yorkshire-based partner and head of tax for the North at Grant Thornton UK, said: “It’s a very challenging scenario. We have seen examples at docks where container turnaround time is slower due to additional Brexit regulations and container pick-up is slower due to a lack of drivers.

“It really is creating a perfect storm and the combination of the two is exacerbating delays and having substantial knock-on effects further down the supply chain.

“There is also the potential for things to get worse before they get better.

“However, as we witnessed during the pandemic, businesses in Yorkshire have proved to be incredibly resilient, which gives me confidence looking ahead to 2022.”