No Brexit deal could see rise in food costs

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News -

High street food prices could soar by as much as a third in the wake of a hard Brexi t , Bri­tain’s re­tail bosses warned yes­ter­day.

Im­ported cheese could rise by up to 32 per cent, toma­toes by nearly 20 per cent, broc­coli 10 per cent and beef al­most 30 per cent un­less Theresa May strikes a tar­iff-free deal with Brus­sels.

More than three-quar­ters of the food the UK im­ports comes from the EU. With­out an agree­ment on trade, most of these will be sub­ject to new tar­iffs, say the Bri­tish Re­tail Con­sor­tium. As a re­sult, the av­er­age cost of food im­ported from the EU could in­crease by 22 per cent.

BRC di­rec­tor of food pol­icy Andrew Opie said: “Price in­creases of this scale to ev­ery­day food items will add a huge bur­den to hard­pressed con­sumers whose fi­nances are al­ready un­der in­creas­ing strain from in­fla­tion­ary pres­sures.”

The BRC – who rep­re­sent high street stores – fear EU im­ports will be sub­ject to new tar­iffs un­der World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion rules if the UK can’t strike a deal.

Opie added: “Even at the lower end of the risk, price rises of five to nine per cent dwarf the in­crease from in­fla­tion that shop­pers are pay­ing on food goods.”

Adam Ley­land, editor of Gro­cer trade mag­a­zine, said: “Is the BRC scare­mon­ger­ing? Not at all. This week Mervyn King, the for­mer gover­nor of the Bank of Eng­land, called on the Gov­ern­ment to brief a team of civi l ser­vants to start pre­par­ing for such an even­tu­al­ity.”

WARN­ING Andrew Opie

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