UK facing food hikes post-Brexit

Britain’s poorest families will face the biggest food price hikes if Brexit happens without the UK reaching a withdrawal deal with the EU, a new report warns.

In a ‘no deal’ scenario emerging from EU-UK talks, a joint report by Resolution Foundation and Sussex University’s UK Trade Policy Observatory estimates UK average price of dairy goods will rise by 8.1%, meat products by 5.8%, with cars and other vehicles rising 5.5%.

The average yearly household bill would rise by £260 (€290) in a ‘no deal’ scenario, in which UK imposes the same tariffs on the EU as it does for other World Trade Organisation countries.

However, 3m families could see price rises of over £500 (€560) while the proportionate impact on the poorest fifth of households would be 33% greater than on the richest fifth, the joint report calculates. The hikes in food prices would be central to that jump having the worst impacts on poorer sections of UK society.

Stephen Clarke, economic analyst at the Resolution Foundation, said: “The [UK] government has said that while it wants a comprehensive trade agreement it is also preparing for a ‘no deal’ scenario when we leave the EU. Such an outcome — which could see the UK imposing tariffs on EU imports — would increase the annual shopping bills of millions of households by £500, with poorer families taking the biggest hit.

“While trade may not have been the biggest issue in the referendum, it is one that will affect the day-to-day living standards of every family in Britain.” The report’s authors have urged the UK government to continue to prioritise a comprehensive new trade deal with the EU to avoid UK households facing higher prices and rapidly escalating households budgets.

Meanwhile, ICSA president Patrick Kent has urged the


Government and all Irish MEPs to oppose any EU concessions on beef quotas in the Mercosur talks. He cited threats Irish beef is already facing from Brexit.

“We cannot accept the EU making trade deals all over the globe when they are making no progress in solving the trading arrangements with the UK,” said Mr Kent.

“The UK took 270,000 tons of Irish beef in 2016. Anything which damages that market is disastrous for Ireland and combining that threat with 70,000 tonnes or more of ultra-cheap Brazilian beef and equivalent amounts of poultry would be suicide for our sector.”

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