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Food prices up… remind us again how that Brexit thing is going? December 7, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This is almost unimaginable. Almost, but not quite, for little in the world appears genuinely unimaginable.

Brexit added almost £6bn to UK food bills in the two years to the end of 2021, affecting poorest households the most, research has found.

The cost of food imported from the EU shot up because of extra red tape, adding £210 to the average household food bills over 2020 and 2021, London School of Economics (LSE) researchers discovered.

Most perniciously:

As low-income families spend a greater share of their income on food, the impact of Brexit on their purchases was disproportionately greater, they said.

The research comes the day after data from the British Retail Consortium trade body showed UK food price inflation hit a record high of 12.4% in November as the price of basics such as eggs, dairy products and coffee rose.

And it’s worth considering that even in the context of the referendum result, one which however much many of us disagreed with it was a legitimate outcome, it was possible to shape a Brexit that was much less irrational and damaging for those least resourced to cope with the outcomes. Continued membership of the single market would be one form of amelioration. Or a Swiss style deal for access. Or many other approaches. But, of course, the Brexit that we see is one that took place in the context of a Tory government eager to assuage the worst instincts of their most rightwards components. In that environment little wonder that what has actually been pursued has been quite literally the worst of all possible worlds for Britain. 

And it doesn’t stop now. It continues and will do so into the future.

Lord Frost’s Brexit trade deal signed at the end of the transition period in December 2020 ensures trade is tariff-free with the EU but created trade barriers in the form of customs, rules of original paperwork and regulatory standards checks for agri-food products.

“In leaving the EU, the UK swapped a deep trade relationship with few impediments to trade for one where a wide range of checks, forms and steps are required before goods can cross the border. Firms faced higher costs and passed most of these on to consumers,” said Richard Davies, a professor at Bristol University and co-author of the report.

He said the rise in non-tariff barriers (NTBs) for trade with the EU had contributed to the 11% inflation the UK is experiencing, the highest in 40 years.


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