Warning from retailers
Food facing 22% tax rise with no EU deal
Food prices could rocket if Prime Minister Theresa May fails to reach a trade deal with Brussels before Britain quits the EU, retailers have warned.
Tariffs could rise by an average of 22%, with some items such as cheese increasing by as much as 46%, said the British Retail Consortium.
Nearly 80% of British food imports come from EU member states and without a deal it would expect to pay taxes fixed by the World Trade Organisation.
As an EU member, Britain pays no tariffs on the £20 billion of food bought from the EU every year.
The BRC estimates the average increase on tariffs would be 22%. It said Britain should prioritise retaining EU ties, and follow that by renegotiating existing EU trade deals with developing countries such as India.
Chief executive Helen Dickinson said” “Only then should the government look to realise the opportunities presented by new trading relationships with the rest of the world.”
Scottish Retail Consortium director David Lonsdale said: “The next few weeks until polling day will undoubtedly be politically charged. Scottish retailers want to see the next UK government prioritise a lasting tariff-free trade deal with the rest of the EU and pursue a business and economic agenda that raises the country’s rate of economic growth.
“Lifting private sector investment will be key. This reinforces the need for a coherent approach to policy making and an agenda which keeps down the cost of doing business and the cost of living and encourages firms to grow.
“Every policy pursued by the next administration should be tested against a benchmark of whether it will make this country a better place for retailers and other firms to invest and expand and ultimately the best place in the world to grow a retail business.”