The Johnson administration holds emergency meetings with representatives of the food and energy industries, regarding gas prices.
Harold Macmillan, the Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963,’s response is now part of any government’s instruction manual. When asked what was the greatest challenge for a political leader, he said “Events, dear boy, events”. In Downing Street, Boris Johnson had an extremely ideologized vision of what he wanted for his country, but events have twisted his arm. ‘The pandemic, the consequences of a Brexit that was never measured by pragmatic criteria, and now a global energy supply crisis that not only inflates consumer bills for electricity or gas, but threatens to aggravate food shortages.’
Billingham and Ince, two of the UK’s largest fertilizer plants, ceased production last Thursday. The U.S. owner, CF Industries, attributes its decision to the dramatic increase in wholesale gas prices, but hasn’t indicated when the company intends to resume operations. In addition to producing around one million tons of fertilizer a year, the two plants also produce 60% of the carbon dioxide that is consumed in the UK. Kwasi Kwarteng, UK Trade Minister, has convened the department’s “energy resilience unit,” as well as emergency talks with representatives of the country’s energy and food industries.
Carbon dioxide is used to put animals to sleep in slaughterhouses and poultry farms. It is an indispensable component of carbonated beverages and beer. It maintains the frozen state of many perishable foods. It is used to extend the shelf life of many packaged foods that end up on supermarket shelves.
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are in regular contact with food and farming industry organizations to help them manage the current problems,” said a British government spokesman. Johnson Executive doesn’t want to compromise on its work visa policy, something that would also help ease tensions.