Tory Brexit Stubborness and Looming Import Checks Leading to Higher Food Prices
Tory Brexit stubbornness is preventing the UK government from working closely with the EU to tackle rising food inflation and is directly pushing up prices, the SNP has said, warning the worst of food inflation could still be yet to come, with Brexit import checks set to begin in October.
Experts have warned of a “strong prospect” that delays at the border and a new fee of £43 for all goods that are eligible for border checks, including things like chilled meat, dairy products and vegetables, could drive up inflation even further at the cost of ordinary people.
It comes as food inflation rates hit record levels recently, sending the price of basics like cheddar cheese, white bread, sausages, and porridge oats, through the roof by as much as 80%.
The SNP’s Europe and EU Accession Spokesperson, Alyn Smith MP accused the Tories of putting Brexit ideology before struggling households, and in a letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Therese Coffey, urged the UK government to put aside quarrels with the EU to tackle rising costs.
Commenting, Alyn Smith MP said:
“In 2016 the Leave campaign promised lower food prices with Brexit. Now, more than three years later, the reality is that ordinary people are having to contend with record levels of inflation sending the cost of basic staples up by as much as 80%.
“And any prospect of UK government action is non-existent, with lingering Tory Brexit stubbornness preventing them from working with the EU to bring down costs and support struggling households – a situation that will only get worse when dreaded import checks begin in October.
“It could be that, even with record levels of food inflation battering household finances right now, we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.
“Life under the Tories’ hard-Brexit is the polar opposite of what was promised by the Leave campaign in 2016, and worlds apart from the experience of EU nations who are facing nothing like what ordinary people in the UK are being forced to suffer.
“Solutions are there to be found if the UK is willing to act on them. A Sanitary and Phytosanitary Agreement with the EU, easing visa restrictions for seasonal workers or memorandums of understanding on food security between UK and EU food agencies would all go a long way to address the current cost-of-living crisis, yet we are continually seeing the Tories put their ideological obsession with Brexit before ordinary households who are struggling so much.
“It’s clear Brexit offers nothing to the people of Scotland but economic hardship, a reality none of the Tories or pro-Brexit Labour are ready to accept, having both signed up to the continuation of this failed project.
“Scotland deserves better, and must be allowed to escape the chaos of Westminster, and reap the rewards of EU membership once again with the full powers of independence in Europe.”
Notes for Editors:
- Written Question from Richard Thomson MP (UIN 180656) – https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2023-04-14/180656
- Letter from Alyn Smith MP to Secretary of State Thérèse Coffey (Available upon request)
- Scottish salmon industry facing ‘acute’ labour shortages, bosses warn – https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/liz-truss-rishi-sunak-scottish-brexit-stornoway-b2145026.html
- How Brexit has raised UK food prices – https://cep.lse.ac.uk/_NEW/publications/abstract.asp?index=9315
- Why are UK food prices up by 19% – and which foods are worst affected? – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/apr/19/why-are-uk-food-prices-up-by-19-and-which-foods-are-worst-affected
- Why does the UK have highest inflation in G7 and is Brexit a factor? – https://www.theguardian.com/business/2023/mar/22/uk-highest-inflation-g7-brexit#:~:text=Britain%20has%20the%20highest%20inflation,Brexit%20is%20having%20an%20impact.
- UK faces worst downturn of any advanced economy, OECD says – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-63704841