Brexit pressure on food bills

Lords finds customs checks could lead to significant price increases

A HOUSE of Lords report on the availability and price of food following Brexit has fired a shot across the government’s bow, calling for more clarity in the face of a potential hike in cost to consumers.

The report, which was carried out by the Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee revealed that 30% of food eaten in the UK comes from the EU, with a further 11% sourced from non-EU countries under the terms of trade deals negotiated by the EU.

The committee found that even in a best case scenario of no tariffs and few customs barriers, international rules would oblige the UK to conduct more customs and borders checks. Should the government fail to reach an agreement by the time the UK leaves the EU, the consequent increase in tariffs would lead to significant price rises for consumers.

Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation said: “The report highlights how essential it is for government to prioritise the interests of the UK’s flourishing food and drink industry in the Brexit negotiations.

“The committee’s call for a comprehensive food security policy is encouraging, but as correctly suggested there is still a serious gap between Government confidence and industry concerns.”