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Sir Jeffrey Donaldson uses data commissioned by DUP-led department to support claims about NI Protocol during debate

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DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson (Credit: Charles McQuillan)

DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson (Credit: Charles McQuillan)

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DUP leader Jeffrey Donaldson (Credit: Charles McQuillan)

Data quoted by Sir Jeffrey Donaldson during a TV debate was commissioned by a DUP-led Stormont department and is not available to the public, it has emerged.

It comes after the DUP leader made claims around rising food costs in a BBC NI leaders’ debate on Tuesday night. 

Sir Jeffrey claimed increasing food costs in Northern Ireland are "direct results of the NI Protocol” — quoting data which, it has now emerged, came from a private report commissioned by the Department for the Economy, a data analytics firm has confirmed.

During the debate, Sir Jeffrey said: “As a direct result of the increased cost in bringing food products from Great Britain to Northern Ireland due to the protocol, consumers in Northern Ireland are now paying on average 4% more per item than they are in Great Britain at the moment.

“When you look at dairy products, that rises to 8%, and when you look at chilled convenience goods, it rises to 19% more for those products. That’s the protocol.”

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The DUP leader said his source for the figures was the Kantar GB panel average price tracker and Kantar NI panel average price tracker.

When contacted for confirmation on the figures and whether the rise in costs are directly related to the protocol, data analytics firm Kantar said that the data referenced is from a report produced for the Department for the Economy in Northern Ireland. The department was led by a DUP minister in the last Stormont mandate.

“While Kantar did do this research, it was commissioned by a specific client (in this case the government) and the data therefore belongs to them,” the spokesperson told the Belfast Telegraph.

“It is not publicly available and unfortunately, we are not authorised to share it through the press office.”

The Department for the Economy and Economy Minister, the DUP’s Gordon Lyons have been contacted for comment.

When asked if Kantar states the price rises are directly linked to the Protocol, Mr Donaldson further told the BBC: “Yes, it demonstrates that the additional costs are linked to the increase in extra customs checks, delays in transporting goods, additional paperwork and additional staff that have to be employed [as a result of the protocol].”


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