Retail bites back on Brexit

Michael Gove, Duchy of Lancaster, is responsible for no-deal planning.

THE British Retail Consortium (BRC) has spoken out against claims made by Michael Gove that the retail sector was “ready” for a no-deal Brexit.

In an exchange in the House of Commons yesterday (25 September), Labour MP Keir Starmer said that industry leaders had concerns that businesses were not prepared for a no-deal Brexit.

In response, Michael Gove, who is responsible for no-deal planning, said: “The automotive sector, who I talked to earlier this week, confirmed that they were ready [for a no-deal Brexit], the retail sector confirmed that they are ready.”

This statement was called into question by a BRC spokesman, who said that it was “impossible” to “completely mitigate the significant disruption which would be caused by no deal.”

“We have been crystal clear that while retailers are doing everything they can to prepare for a no deal Brexit on 31 October, there are limits to what can be done.

“Checks and delays at the border, limited warehousing capacity in the run up to Black Friday and Christmas, and the increased reliance on imported fruit and vegetables through the winter months mean that popular goods, such as strawberries, tomatoes and lettuce, would likely see reduced availability, and higher prices.”