Cold Chain Federation gives evidence to Parliament

London, UK: The cold chain will not be able to absorb all the costs of skyrocketing energy costs, high diesel prices and next year’s red diesel change (rebate removal), the Cold Chain Federation has warned MPs.

The comments were made by Cold Chain Federation policy director Tom Southall who gave evidence as part of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee’s inquiry into the labour shortages in food and farming last week.

Southall, who pointed out other financial pressures affecting the cold chain sector, such as pay rises and materials costs, suggested that collaborative action between government and industry was needed.

Tom Southall, policy director, Cold Chain Federation

He said: “This evidence session was particularly important in the Cold Chain Federation’s mission to improve understanding within Westminster and Whitehall about the crucial job cold chain operators do and the challenges they face. We are making sure Government knows that while cold chain businesses are finding ways to keep the nation fed week by week thanks to their resilience and experience, the current situation remains challenging. Meaningful, collaborative action is needed both to ease the pressure now and in the longer term.”

Southall also warned that over the Christmas period there would not be the same “continuous product availability” as people are used to. However, on the positive side, there will not be any food shortages.

He called for long-term support from the government to take the strain off businesses and reduce vacancy rates, which should include a better and longer term temporary visa scheme while devising measures to fill positions without drawing on migrant labour to the same extent in the future.

“The Select Committee is preparing to interview the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and our evidence will ensure the Committee is well informed about the needs and experiences of cold chain operators,” added Southall.


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