London. Before Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party Conference, there was a crisis in the UK. Motorists have to face enormous difficulties at gas stations. Many petrol pumps are unused, and where there is still fuel, people often have to queue in traffic jams that stretch for miles. The reason is the massive shortage of truck drivers. This has already caused some shelves in supermarkets to be emptied which could drive up prices for many products.
Prime Minister Johnson had been in hiding for several days, then downplayed the crisis. “We are starting to see the first signs of improvement,” he said in a short clip, promising that the supply situation would be under control at Christmas.
Increased energy costs
But as if the shortage weren’t enough, UK consumers have to contend with a sharp rise in energy costs, which hit the country particularly hard due to the lack of gas. And if inflation rises, interest rates may soon rise, which could get many homeowners into trouble.
In addition, the “leave scheme”, the British version of short-time work benefits, expired at the end of September. The program has kept thousands of people in jobs that may no longer exist. It all comes after Johnson’s unpopular decision to increase Social Security contributions, despite campaign promises to the contrary, in order to fund an urgently needed reform of long-term care. There is already talk of a looming “cost of living crisis” and a “winter of discontent” (winter of discontent). It is feared that large numbers of people will slip into poverty.
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Liked by MPs
However, political scientist Anand Menon of King’s College London believes the Conservative Party will celebrate “like a champ” at the party conference in Manchester. “Members of the Conservative Party love him and Tory MPs love him because he won (the election),” Menon said in an interview with the German news agency dpa. There will certainly be “a lot of difficult discussions” about economic choices. But he still doesn’t think the prime minister has suffered any harm, but warns: “If things go really bad economically, and especially if there is a spike in inflation and unemployment, the government will be in trouble.”
Florian Voss, who does research in the area of political behavior at the London School of Economics, also sees risks for Johnson in a weak economy. But the renewed exacerbation of the epidemic may also affect the mood in the country at the expense of the conservatives. dpa
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