The Protocol is not the only factor at play when calculating rising prices, according to a leading agribusiness consultancy.
The Protocol is also not the sole reason for the 8% difference in the price of dairy products between here and Great Britain, said Michael Haverty, senior consultant with the Andersons Centre.
The difference in dairy prices was cited by DUP leader Sir Jeffrey Donaldson in the BBC leaders’ debate on Tuesday evening, and later on social media, as he argued that the Protocol was largely to blame for the rising costs.
He cited a report by market analysts Kantar.
Kantar said it compiled the report on behalf of the Department for the Economy, but added that the information was not publicly available.
Mr Haverty said the Andersons Centre has not compiled data recently that looks specifically at consumer prices in Great Britain compared to Northern Ireland.
He added: “Looking at dairy products… there has traditionally been an elevated price in Northern Ireland versus Great Britain, so I think that some of that higher price predates the Protocol.
“There appears to be some widening of prices since the latter half of 2021.
“Other factors are also likely to be at play here, particularly the cost of fuel/logistics.
“So there are a number of factors at play I suspect.
“Therefore, I don’t think that the Protocol is the sole reason behind the 8% difference for dairy products that Jeffrey Donaldson has quoted.”
According to Sir Jeffrey, by the end of the first year of the Protocol in 2021, consumers in Northern Ireland “were paying 4% more per item than in GB, 8%more for dairy products and 19% more for chilled convenience goods”.
“TheProtocol is driving up the cost of living,” he added.
Economist and data analyst Peter Donaghy replied to Sir Jeffrey on social media: “A difference of 8% in dairy prices between Northern Ireland and GB looks plausible. Important context though is that this difference appears to predate Brexit/the Protocol.
“Milk, cheddar, parmesan and soft cheeses were all typically more expensive in NI than GB at the start of 2020.”
Mr Donaghy was working with numbers released by the Office of National Statistics.