One step beyond - report warns of Brexit's impact on United Kingdom food

Bruno Cirelli
Luglio 17, 2017

"The silence about the future of United Kingdom food since the Brexit referendum is an astonishing act of political irresponsibility and suggests chaos unless redressed", they said. A third of Britain's food now comes from European Union countries and the report says there appears to be no government strategy to deal with any shortfall if this supply is disrupted.

As it stands, the United Kingdom gets 31% of its food from the United Kingdom and the report's authors have warned that provisions need to be put in place before Brexit occurs in 2019. The 86-page review cites recent research by the British Retail Consortium that the absence of a trade deal could push the price of imported food up by 22%. No-one has warned the public that a Food Brexit carries real risks of disruption to sources, prices and quality'.

Food prices could jump by up to a fifth if the United Kingdom drops out of the European Union with no trade deal, the report warns.

"With the Brexit deadline in 20 months, this is a serious policy failure on an unprecedented scale".

Ahead of the departure deadline, there are thousands of pieces of legislation concerning food which require consideration, covering areas such as agriculture and fisheries.

It says the Government has shown little sign of addressing the issues, accusing ministers of "an astonishing act of political irresponsibility". Anyone would think they want a drop into the World Trade Organisation abyss'.

"At least the United Kingdom entered World War Two with emergency plans".

The 86-page report, published by SPRU, the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, is the first major review of how Brexit could affect United Kingdom food and farming.

It draws on more than 200 sources, including interviews with senior figures across the United Kingdom food chain, as well as official, industry and scientific documents.

Negotiations over the nature of Britain's divorce from the continent will continue on Monday as Brexit Secretary David Davis travels for talks in Brussels. They believe that the UK's population expect low food prices and guaranteed supply for anything they need.

The food industry could descend into utter "chaos" unless more is done to challenge the "real risks" posed to it by Brexit, it has been warned.

Prof Millstone said: "Not only have ministers yet to develop a strategy or make decisions, they have not even grasped the issues about which urgent decisions are needed".

"Unless things change rapidly, and in line with our recommendations, the United Kingdom will not only have policy chaos, the food system itself will become increasingly chaotic".

'When we leave we are determined to benefit from tariff-free trade for our goods that is as frictionless as possible.

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