Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Scottish Friendly warns of inflation shock as shortages spread

Rising inflation is hitting household budgets on multiple fronts, including their weekly shop.

Petrol shortages are just the beginning and complacent consumers are unprepared for an inflation shock, a personal finance expert has warned.

Some petrol stations around the UK have been running out of fuel amid panic-buying at the pumps.

Britain’s acute shortage of HGV drivers lies behind this and other supply chain problems affecting manufacturers, construction firms and retailers of all kinds.

Christmas fear

Tesco and other supermarkets, as well as leading business groups, are pressing the UK Government for action – including a relaxation of the immigration rules – as a combination of Brexit, Covid-19 and other more longstanding structural problems threaten to spoil Christmas.

Meanwhile, the Bank of England Bank has predicted inflation will top 4% before the end of the year, fuelled by rising energy costs.

‘Uphill battle’

Neil Lovatt, commercial director at financial services firm Scottish Friendly, said: “The government and Bank of England face an uphill battle thanks to the vicious psychology of inflation.

“They would be wise to start doing something now, before the situation gets totally out of control.

“Far from being at the beginning of the end of the crisis, we are simply at the end of the beginning of our woes.”

Scottish Friendly commercial director Neill Lovatt.

He added: “As the latest, highly worrying example of petrol stations forced to close by supply chain issues shows – once the inflation shock hits, it is extremely difficult to control.

“Plus its fallout will be compounded because the bulk of the country has never had to go through a highly inflationary environment.”

Inflation has not been a “real issue” in the UK since the end of the 1980s”, Mr Lovatt said.

He added: “That means most people under the age of 50 have no real experience of how difficult it can be managing a budget in an inflationary environment.

“Adapting to that new world will not just be a case of having to cope with a little more arithmetic.

Your Money: The confusing world of cryptocurrency and NFTs

“It’s about constantly having to adjust your budgets because you literally run out of money by the end of the month.

“These are serious issues. Complacency has set in across the board and there could be a lot of people in for a rude awakening.

“It is time for policymakers to get a grip on the situation.”

Most people under the age of 50 have no real experience of how difficult it can be managing a budget in an inflationary environment.”

Neil Lovatt, Scottish Friendly.

Temporary visas are among the ideas being suggested to ease the HGV driver shortage.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has called on the UK Government to a “COBR-level” response, reserved for national emergencies, to the developing crisis.

CBI members have reported sharply increasing material costs and shortages of key manufacturing components, with producers now also facing rocketing energy prices.

‘Major threat’ to recovery

Tony Danker, the employer group’s director-general, said: “After speaking with hundreds of business leaders… it’s clear there’s a total mindset shift from growing to coping.

“This is now a major threat to our recovery, and the government needs to step up its response to a new level of both speed and boldness.

“While many of these challenges are global in nature, the solutions we need are local.”

Opportunity knocks

Mr Danker added: “This is as much about opportunity than threat.

“We can be one of the fastest nations in the world to respond to this global surge in demand.

“If we can unblock these constraints together, we can race ahead in terms of recovery and growth.”

Already a subscriber? Sign in