UK retail giant Next has expressed concerns about maintaining its usual service in the lead-up to Christmas due to a shortage of workers caused by post-Brexit immigration rules. The company, headed by Brexit supporter Simon Wolfson, fears that its clothing and homeware stores, as well as its online shop, could be impacted during Britain’s peak buying season. Next is finding it increasingly difficult to recruit staff for warehousing and logistics jobs, which has led to lower stock levels compared to pre-pandemic times.

The shortage of workers in the UK is already causing disruption in various sectors, including retail. The lack of truck drivers, in particular, has affected fuel supplies and led to empty supermarket shelves. Many attribute these supply chain issues to the impacts of Brexit. In response to the driver shortage, the government has announced that it will issue temporary visas for 5,000 foreign drivers. However, Next believes that simply increasing wages will not resolve the shortage of seasonal warehouse workers. CEO Simon Wolfson emphasizes that the solution lies in an immigration policy that effectively utilizes the contributions of overseas workers to the British economy.

The challenges faced by Next highlight the far-reaching consequences of the current supply chain issues in the UK. These issues not only affect retail but also have implications for consumer experiences and overall economic recovery. While temporary measures like issuing visas for drivers may provide some relief, a long-term solution lies in a revised immigration policy that addresses the availability of labor from overseas. As Christmas approaches, it is crucial to find ways to mitigate the disruptions to ensure a smooth and successful holiday season for retailers and consumers alike.

Useful links:
– [UK Government immigration policy](https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-employer-information/the-uks-points-based-immigration-system-an-introduction-for-employers)
– [Brexit and its impact on the UK economy](https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51243884)