Ukraine crisis reveals need for an economic rethink in the UK says UCLan business expert

Dr Carey says the potential shortages caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine has highlighted some of the UK's weaknesses

By Aimee Seddon
Friday, 25th February 2022, 4:55 am

With the crisis in Ukraine threatening the economy here in the UK, an expert in international and UK business at the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) explains how this is the sign that the country's economic structure needs to change.

Earlier, the Post spoke to Dr Robin Carey about why the Russian-Ukraine conflict will affect the people of Preston, and he highlighted "the knock on effects" that gas and oil shortages created by Russia will have on our energy prices, commodity prices and production levels.

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UCLan business expert Dr Carey believes that the Ukraine crisis reveals need for an economic rethink in the UK.

In addition to this, Dr Carey now explains that this crisis highlights how reliant the country is on the rest of the world, and how becoming more self sufficient would alleviate some of the above affects.

In terms of the crisis' impact on the UK's access to products, Dr Carey said: "If there is a significant shortage of supply that will hurt everything, because it's not just us that are going to be affected, it's countries like Germany and France that produce most of our cars and lots of raw materials for us, so we need to be mindful that the UK needs to be significantly more self sufficient.

"We've closed down many of our factories, much of our production and outsourced it but now we're in a position whereby supply is going to be a real issue. One of the things that Brexit was supposedly about, was to bring back industries that we had, so I think a solution in the medium term is we have to look at making more within our own nation, producing more within our own communities and sourcing things significantly closer to home. Our region was the birthplace of industrial revolution, so why are we importing things from three quarters across the world when we can actually make it in Lancashire and keep people in jobs?”

As well as the possible remedy to supply chain issues being found by bringing production back to places like Lancashire, Dr Carey suggests that the country has the ability to alleviate the expected hike in energy shortages, prices, and the possibility of blackouts by producing our own energy too.

Explaining the country's current weakness, as exposed in this crisis, Dr Carey said: "We still have North Sea gas and oil, but they are in decline, and we can only produce a certain level, so we are very vulnerable with regards to much of our energy production. We no longer have coal powered power stations, we don't have sustainable power, we've got limited wind power, limited nuclear power, and we've switched from coal fire to gas fired power stations, and where does the gas come from- Russia."

In the expected eventually that Russia cuts off oil and gas supply to Western Europe, Dr Carey suggests it brings to light the importance of being able to produce our own resources which are safe from global interference.

He explained: "When we're dependent on fossil fuels, there is a green argument within this that we need to move significantly quicker towards greener solutions because currently we're at the behest of the market, and hence geopolitical changes, which is why we have big swings in prices and we can't control that, whereas if we were using wind and wave power in the Irish Sea, that would be a relatively controllable cost because it's local.

"The Russians don't own our seas, they don't own the wind, so that would be one way whereby we can become very quickly more self sufficient, so whilst we will be impacted by the crisis' effects, we can negate some of that by pressing ahead with more renewable energy."

Dr Carey adds that members of the public can make a difference by pushing their Westminster politicians to try and get such infrastructure built quicker.

He concluded: "There needs to be a political change, a recognition that levelling up could be using our resources within our region to source energy cleanly, efficiently and locally. So hopefully, as a community we can try and leverage that to get more infrastructure within our region to generate power so we’re less reliant on these very expensive, and politically dubious inputs."