The British Retail Consortium has warned that the UK’s “fragile food supply chains” could be at risk in the wake of the government’s upcoming Withdrawal Agreement for Brexit.
Speaking in light of the government’s white paper announcement on legislation for the Withdrawal Agreement between the UK and the EU, BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “As the countdown to the 29 March 2019 continues, it is imperative that there is now further clarity on how a backstop arrangement would work for the free movement of goods at the Irish border.
“Without a backstop being agreed there can be no withdrawal agreement and no transition, leaving a very real danger of a no-deal Brexit scenario which would have dire consequences for the UK’s fragile food supply chains and risks UK consumers paying considerably more for everyday items imported from the European Union.”
The BRC’s response comes just a few weeks after Dickinson wrote to Prime Minister Theresa May calling for a “reality check” on the consequences of failing to reach a border deal by March 29th 2019.
In the letter, co-authored by BRC chairman Richard Pennycook, Dickinson warned that fresh produce would be “left rotting in ports, reducing the choice and quality of what is available to consumers” if a border deal could not be made.
Last month the government announced a “backstop” customs plan, which would come into effect if no deal could be reached by March next year.
Meanwhile the fresh produce sector has continued its call for frictionless borders, claiming that a further two minutes spent on incoming goods could create 30 mile lorry tailbacks in France.