Food shortages and increase in food prices.
Lock down happened in the UK middle to late March 2020. Restaurants and pubs and other food outlets were closed for about 4 months. A lot of farmers had to throw away their produce that was grown especially for those businesses as shop retailers weren’t taking in more food than their demand.
Food shortages in shops occurred mainly because people started to panic buy. These shortages were man made; all food was waiting to be delivered in the store houses, but the demand of certain items in the shops were larger than transport could deal with. It is also possible that some of the truck drivers and shop workers were shielding, therefore further decreasing the supply ending up in the stores. With low supply and a high demand comes an increase in price for popular products, such as long lasting food (tinned beans, tinned tomatoes, dry pasta etc). Increase in food prices has already been an issue with an inflation of the currency and has only gotten worse with the lockdown.
In the UK, 90% of the seasonal workers in the agricultural sector are migrants from the EU who come over during harvesting time. In 2019 lots of overseas workers have been unwilling to come to the UK or left early due to the chaos caused by Brexit. This resulted in tonnes of food being left to rot. In 2020, this issue was made worse as with the closing of borders during lockdown it was not possible to employ EU workers at all, resulting in a decrease in yield. UK residents, particularly furloughed workers and the unemployed were invited to sign up to work on farms to harvest fruit and vegetables in a campaign called ‘pick for Britain’. Not enough people signed up for these jobs and some Romanian workers were flown into the UK to help. Much of the crops were lost, also resulting in an increase in the food prices.
With Brexit coming up, and a no deal Brexit in sight, food shortages may arise. Many foods are imported from European countries and further afield; 26% of food imports are coming from the EU and only 4% each from Africa, Asia, North and South America. Without the existing deals from the EU, we may likely see a decrease in the food quality and quantity imported into the UK and food prices will certainly once more rise.
Many people are being furloughed, unemployed and on benefits, and find they are really struggling to meet their basic needs with food prices rising rapidly the last couple of years. Many have to choose if they pay their electric bill, buy clothes for their children or put food on the table…
Lockdown has been a stressful time for the inhabitants of the UK, with anxiety caused by covid, and strict rules dictating how we live our lives.
Lockdown has been a lonely time for many. The government has put massive pressure onto society through laws and propaganda to social distance and self-isolate, and for many the only change of scenery has been the weekly shop. The sharing of emotions that we as humans, a social creature, rely on has been handicapped; the 2 meter rule has prevented us from fully enjoying the others company and giving hugs and kisses when needed, and wearing face masks has had a severe impact on our abilities to communicate through facial expressions, lip reading, and damping their voice. For many, this can make it easy to bottle up emotions, not taking things at face value as we used to. For others, it has become harder and harder to maintain contact with friends and family, as well as the random people we meet in life. It is no longer possible to visit friends and family abroad with the strict rules that have been put in place regarding travel, whether the borders are closed, or self-isolating is mandatory. We were unable to be with our dying loved ones, and unable to go to their funerals; to properly grief in this chaotic time.
The fearmongering of the government has, for many, induced fear to step outside their front door. Many people are very anxious to get the disease. It feels criminal to visit our friends and family now the rules allow us to. There are so many changes happening to the rules daily that our lives become revolved around covid as opposed to our wellbeing. For many, being locked in with family has been very stressful with many relationships breaking down, and children and adults in abusive households have been denied their escape. Children learn through playing with other children no longer have this opportunity.
There were 6.9 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in England between April and June this year. compared to the 11 per 100,000 people during the year 2019, which averages to about 3.7 per 100,000 in the same time span. This is an increase of 3.2 deaths per 100,000 people due to suicide, which is an increase of roughly 213 people in just 3 months compared to 2019.
Maybe it is time that we put our mental health first?
With the ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests, there has been a unification of people towards the goal of achieving justice of black people. However, with these protests has come extreme violence from both the police force and the rioters. The majority of the protesters come in peace and want to make their viewpoint clear. Many people, however, have exploited the situation and looted the stores of many business owners, some of which are also black or support ‘Black Lives Matter’. Many protesters and police officers have been wounded and some have died during these protests, due to the police’s gross incompetence when dealing with peaceful protests as well as the violent rioters attacking police. Unfortunately it seems that this has achieved a division rather than a unification between people. In my opinion it may have been better to have called it “all lives matter”, as that would have included all humans as all humans are equally important.
There are also may protests going on all over the world about ‘the awakening’. People are starting to voice their truths. Every one’s truths may differ, but it is important that we, humans, respect each other’s viewpoints, even if we disagree. It is important, that if we chose to protest, we do so out of love and in peace. It is great to see so many people voicing themselves, but it may be wise to respect the social distancing ‘rules’ to do so, as unfortunately that is part of the time we live in in the now. Now is the time in which we come together as one.