Friday 23 November 2018

Finance Fridays – Stockpiling for Brexit

We were looking at pension transfers for last week's Finance Fridays. This week we are talking about one of the issues that has arisen due to the Brexit negotiations -stockpiling. It seems there is an air of panic about people if the UK doesn't get a trade agreement with the EU. There are fears that there will be food and medicine shortages so should you stockpile or not?

Should I stockpile items? - There's a concern that food and medicines produced in the EU won't be available in the UK after it leaves the EU next year. Even if the items are produced in the UK they often use ingredients that are imported in from the EU. Many factories and distribution systems work on the basis that items are produced and then moved on. Storage and warehousing costs can be very high.

If you rely on a certain medication if you can't get hold of what you need it can really become a matter of life and death. Sometimes the same medication with the same active ingredients but made by another manufacturer doesn't work as well or isn't suitable.

Even without Brexit many people stockpile food for various reasons. One logical one is if you think your employment is at risk or you have a unpredictable or cyclical income. When you have some money to spare it can make sense to add some non-perishable goods to your weekly shopping.

Why shouldn't I stockpile? - Getting into a panic isn't going to help in the long run. If people keep stockpiling food then storages could happen. This in turn puts prices. During both World War One and Two people caught hoarding food could find themselves facing fines or even imprisonment. The major method to stop food hoarding was the introduction of rationing – not something anyone wants bringing back. However, the country did survive even if it was on a very limited diet.

Stockpiling can also be very wasteful. Items can be forgotten about and when found not needed. If not stored correctly they can spoil very quickly. If you are stockpiling medicines you could be preventing someone who needs that medication now from using it.

New trade deals can be forged with other countries. The countries of the EU may be the closest ones but the world is now very small in terms of trade and there are plenty of other countries that the UK can do deals with.

You can also take the opportunity to start or increase the amount of food you produce yourself. Whether you take on an allotment or turn over a piece of your garden there are opportunities abound.

Have you thought about stockpiling? What would you stockpile?

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Finance Fridays

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  1. This reminds me of the panic of the millennium bug. I'm not going to be drawn in.

    1. The office I worked in only thought a couple of computers were not Y2K compliant and then found out most of the office had old computers! At least we got new computers out of it!


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