How we went from ‘there are no shortages’ to ‘shortages are actually good’

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 (West End Final)
(West End Final)

The evolution from ‘there are no shortages’ to ‘Brexit will inevitably lead to a bumpy transition but said disruption is merely evidence that the plan is working’ has been pretty seamless.

One Conservative MP, Chris Loder, went as far as to suggest that food shortages and breaking up the modern marvel that is supermarket supply chains are in the “long-term interest” of the UK economy. Because empty shelves have never led to social or political strife before.

The Tories are now going all-in on wage rises, and who wouldn’t? Higher salaries poll pretty well. Indeed, if you have an HGV license and can handle the rough working conditions, you can earn more than a backbench MP.

Yet it feels like a mighty big bet by the Government given the near-term inflation projections, which could see real wages falling.

The point is, there is no shortcut to economic growth and rising living standards that does not at least in part involve higher productivity, technological breakthroughs or finding a trove of rare earth metals somewhere in Lancashire.

Clearly, some sectors such as agriculture and food processing have become heavily reliant on low-wage migrant labour. The broader question is: Will Brexit boost UK productivity?

Jonathan Hopkin, professor of politics at the London School of Economics, points out that the United States aside, all major economies in the OECD with higher productivity than Britain are *in the EU* or have deep trade agreements with it.

We can boost productivity outside of the EU, just as we could have done from within. The worry is if we didn’t do it then, what makes you think we’ll do it now?

In the comment pages, Met Commissioner Cressida Dick announces she will bring in an outsider to clean up the force in wake of the Sarah Everard murder.

Meanwhile, leading Brexiteer and chief executive of Next Lord Wolfson says that while he voted to leave the EU, we need immigration more than ever.

And finally, if you can’t work from home, why not take your bed with you? From A$AP Rocky’s quilted couture to the high street’s duvet coats, wearable blankets are all the rage.

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