Food prices could soar after Brexit, peers warn
There is “no doubt” food prices will rocket after Brexit if the UK fails to secure a free trade deal with the European Union, a cross-party group of peers has warned.
The Lords EU Environment Committee said it was “inconceivable” there would be no impact on produce coming to Britain from the continent.
Half of the food Brits eat is imported - with some 30% coming from across the Channel, 11% coming from countries with EU trade deals, and the rest coming from elsewhere.
The peers said the EU could slap food tariffs of up to 22% on produce entering the UK if the Government fails to secure a free trade deal after Brexit.
"While this would not equate to a 22% increase in food prices for consumers, there can be no doubt that prices paid at the checkout would rise," they said in a new report..
"To counteract this, the government could cut tariffs on all food imports, EU and non-EU, but this would pose a serious risk of undermining UK food producers who could not compete on price."
The peers said better-off customers could spend more on home-grown goods, those on lower-incomes might have to plump for lower-quality produce from abroad.
Brexit supporters argue food prices should fall after the UK quits the bloc as there will be less regulation and better competition with the rest of the world.
The Government has insisted it wants to secure a free trade deal with the EU after Brexit.
A spokesperson said the cost of food was dependent on a number of factors including commodity prices and exchange rates - all of which would still apply after Brexit.
The spokesperson added: "But we also want to ensure consumers have access to a wide range of food, which is why we are considering how we best manage border checks and controls when we leave the EU without impacting the smooth flow of trade."