In a letter to secretary of state for international trade Liam Fox, BRC said that a World Trade Organisation Brexit deal – or a hard Brexit – could raise the cost of importing meat and Chilean wine by 27% and 14% respectively. It added that these costs would inevitably affect consumers.
The consortium called on the government to negotiate a Brexit deal that would not put household bills at risk.
‘Increased cost pressures could mean higher shop prices’
BRC chairman Richard Baker said: “We will be supporting the government through this complex and difficult process, helping them [the government] analyse how increased cost pressures on retailers could mean higher shop prices and identifying any opportunities for new trade deals that could benefit individuals and families.”
BRC said it would be working with the government to help find a resolution to increased import costs.
“The retail industry is the UK’s biggest importer, and has huge experience of importing from every corner of the world. We will be engaged in a constructive dialogue with government that will bring our experience to bear on the Brexit talks to the benefit of everyone in the UK.”
BRC said that between 100,000 and 200,000 EU nationals worked in UK retailing, and the government should give them the reassurance that they’re still welcome in the country. It also said that any domestic legislation on the retailing industry, brought into effect after Brexit, should all support growth.
200,000 EU nationals in UK retailing
However, the consortium stressed that Brexit might also benefit UK consumers. It said the UK would be free to adopt its own scheme of trade preferences for developing countries, after Brexit.
Meanwhile, a report from the Fraser of Allander Institute found that up to 1,500 food and drink industry jobs could be lost in Scotland after Brexit. The UK’s decision to leave the EU could also cost the Scottish industry £150M.
BRC Brexit letter – at a glance
- Meat import costs could rise 27%
- Chilean wine costs could rise 14%
- 100,000 – 200,000 EU nationals working in UK retail deserve reassurance