Economics bulletin 27 January

Date : 26 January 2023

Your overview of economic and policy news with a focus on the food and consumer goods industry. Featuring the latest developments and guidance on the rising cost of living, the Ukraine crisis, labour shortages, COVID-19 and adapting to a new relationship with the EU.

Food price inflation to slow

IGD predicts that year-on-year food price inflation will slow over 2023, although it will remain above zero at year-end.

This is one of our predictions for the economy, consumer sentiment and policy developments in 2023 found in our latest Viewpoint Report: From inflation to recession: what to watch out for in 2023.

Record government borrowing

UK Government borrowing hit a record high of £27.4bn in December, the most for the month since records began. The rise was driven by energy support schemes such as the Energy Bills Relief Scheme and the Energy Price Guarantee and increasing debt interest payments, which also hit record levels.

The Prime Minister has promised to reduce the national debt.

Deposit Return Scheme

The Government has confirmed that an industry-led Deposit Return Scheme will be launched in October 2025 at the earliest with the aim of increasing recycling rates of single-use bottles and cans to 90% in three years.

The Scheme will cover Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles and steel/aluminium cans in England and Northern Ireland. In Wales, it will additionally cover glass bottles.

Retailers, who sell the drinks containers covered by the scheme will be obligated to host return points and include the price of the deposit into their pricing. The Scottish Deposit Return Scheme is due to go live in August 2023.

For more analysis, please read here.

Northern Ireland power sharing deadline passes

The deadline to restore the Northern Ireland Executive through a power sharing agreement has passed. Current law states that the UK government must call another election within 12 weeks, although this could be delayed by the Government.

The Democratic Unionist Party is refusing to take part in the executive due to its opposition to the Northern Ireland Protocol. They are particularly concerned about the number of checks taking place on goods coming into Northern Ireland from Great Britain.

Disruptive Challenges survey

DEFRA is carrying out a survey with key sectors to gain a better understanding of supply chain vulnerabilities, inflationary pressures and energy costs.

The survey can be found here and will run until 31 January 2023.