Brexit crisis: Food shortages and prices rises ‘near certainty’ in event of no deal

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Earlier this month, several countries across Europe and the world closed the borders to the UK following news of a virulent new strain of the coronavirus pandemic. As Operation Stack was imposed, the public flocked to shops to panic buy once again leaving shelves stripped bare.

Days after the ban, the Government said it had reached a deal with France to lift the travel ban, but fresh food fears continued to remain.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, research suggested a tariff effect would lead to food price inflation of an estimated 3.1 percent for fruit and four percent for vegetables.

And with days before the end of the transition period on December 31, a leading Brexit expert has warned there will be significant price rises as a result of a no deal outcome.

Professor Alex de Ruyter told “If there is no deal then anticipate significant price rises as a result of tariffs.”

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He continued: “In the event of ‘no deal’, shortages and price rises is a near certainty.

“Any goods that attract significant tariffs, especially meats, will become more expensive.

“Some fruits and vegetables will also become more costly and further price increases are likely to be seen across the board as a result of currency depreciation and any disruption – meaning that drivers need to be paid overtime, more fuel is used etc.

“In the short term, two effects are likely.

“First of all, items that are in short supply will obviously be consumed less.

“Secondly, people will react to changes in relative prices by eating less of things that have become more costly.

“In the longer term, we might expect consumption to move back towards previous norms, but everything will depend on prices and incomes.

“This, in turn, will depend on productivity, rules and regulations and any trade deals that are done both with the EU and elsewhere.”

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Despite this worry of food shortages, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has continued to say the UK will “prosper mightily” in a no deal Brexit.

Earlier this month, Mr Johnson tried to reassure the public and said: “It’s absolutely vital that our partners understand that the UK is going to do what we need to do.

“If we have to have an Australia-style deal, an Australia-style solution, then that is what we will achieve, and we will prosper mightily one way or the other.”

However, Maddy Thimont Jack, an associate director on the Institute for Government’s Brexit team, lashed out at Mr Johnson’s claims.

She said: “The Government should tell the public that no deal, at least in the short term, is a more painful choice and be straight about what it would mean on January 1 – instead of insisting again, as Boris Johnson did today, that the UK would ‘prosper mightily’ if talks collapse.

“If the Prime Minister wants the country to avoid the inevitable chaos of an acrimonious no deal Brexit in the midst of a pandemic hit by a new, more transmissible, strain, than compromising in the negotiations looks like his only choice.

“Whether agreeing to a deal ends up being a choice he regrets in the future is a risk he will be taking.”

Since the UK formally left the EU in January, neither side has been able to come to an agreement of fishing, governance and the so-called level playing field.

Fishing has been one of the main reasons why negotiations have been gridlocked.

Under the controversial Commons Fisheries Policy (CFP), all member states are given access to EU waters via quotas.

As the UK has a large coastal area, critics have often argued the system is unfair.

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