The news in the last few days tells us that Prison Officer numbers are at a point of near crisis, with almost 2000 needed across the prison estate, yet 400 more left than joined the service in the last year. Then a report called The School Leadership Challenge: 2022 has been published showing a shortage of senior teachers which is projected to reach a crisis of its own by 2022 if no action is taken. The Government is not denying the problem in our prisons although there is a dispute from the Department for Education that the numbers are correct in the School report, but they are not disputing that a problem exists. It is widely understood that our Health Service is under immense challenge and this will not be helped if the Government are stupid enough to allow irresponsible Ministers such as Liam Fox to continue to speak of EU nationals as the bargaining chips in our Brexit negotiations. Many of our Hospitals are dependent on people from other nations to keep them running. However EU nationals are not limited in their involvement in our NHS and many other businesses and organisations are at risk too from a hemorrhage of skill and experience. Then there is the focus from the Government on Indian and Chinese trade delegations in an attempt to deal with long term trade agreements which will not help businesses such as the one I work for that are heavily dependent on goods that are manufactured in China, but which are distributed into the UK through European HQ and storage facilities and others which are sold in dollars.
It is the impact of the Brexit vote that is leading to a weekly array of updated price lists being emailed into our offices. There was a time when we could assure clients that there would be little change in pricing from one year to the next, now we are dealing with quotations that are barely accurate over a 30 day period. By the same token a great deal of our business is transacted with the public sector, in particular Schools and Universities. This means we are acutely aware of uncertainty with immigration issues impacting the numbers of overseas students and in addition to the problems with School leadership mentioned above, the changes to the infrastructure of education due to the political wishes of the current government. As a business we have seen year on year growth of nearly 40% for the last 3 years and whilst this is now slowing to a more manageable level, we are unable to recruit people with the right skills due to the specialist nature of our work and the lack of flexibility in the various training approaches being taken by local higher education providers. To their credit some are trying to be responsive to our needs, but they are being driven by centrally determined ‘wisdom’ and funding criteria.
Whilst this Government did not force anyone to vote for Brexit and some will argue that the vote was in the UKs best interest, the decision to hold a vote without any preparation for a Leave outcome coupled with the existing weaknesses in our nations social infrastructure means we need strong and effective leadership and we need it quickly. As we approach the 4 month point in Theresa Mays leadership of the Conservative Party and a similar period in office for the three clowns in the Brexit departments, along with jokers like Liz Truss in the Ministry of Justice and the ongoing problems caused by Jeremy Hunt in Health there seems to be a bigger gap than ever at the top. We seem to be facing a wide range of factors that are a threat to our nations stability. Let us hope that someone or something will emerge from the shadows to calm the impending storm.