No Brexit deal could see rise in food costs
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