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Retail bodies warn no-deal Brexit will hike price of food items

Higher costs: Aodhan Connolly
Higher costs: Aodhan Connolly
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

A no-deal Brexit could lead to tariffs of up to 45% on everyday food items, major retail bodies in Ireland and Britain have warned.

The Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Retail Ireland and the British Retail Consortium, which between them represent around 8,000 businesses, have today issued a joint statement, claiming that leaving the EU at the end of next month without a deal will squeeze household budgets and lead to reduced availability of some goods.

The bodies said the possibility of the UK and the EU reverting to World Trade Organisation tariffs, coupled with the potential for new regulatory checks, will lead to spikes in the cost of making fresh food and drink available to consumers.

Aodhan Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, said: “A no-deal Brexit brings tariffs, customs processes, checks and costs which our industry, and Northern Ireland families in particular, cannot afford to absorb. Our households already have half of the discretionary income of British households and less than those in the Republic of Ireland.

“A no-deal Brexit will hit us first and hit us hardest. This is not acceptable.

“A hard Brexit means a hard border and the disintegration of supply chains that have been built up over 40 years of EU membership.

“This is not a binary choice for Northern Ireland between trade with the UK and trade with the EU.

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“Our economy is built on access to both markets and we need that to survive.

“No deal makes NI a less competitive place to do business and a more expensive place to live.”

Belfast Telegraph