BRC says Brexit vote delay could be “catastrophic” for retail

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Brexit GFK

The British Retail Consortium has said Prime Minister Theresa May’s delaying of the meaningful vote on her Brexit deal scheduled today is “particularly concerning”.

After another chaotic day in parliament yesterday, which saw the PM renege on promises to hold a vote on the Brexit deal she has agreed with the EU in the face of near-certain defeat, the retail trade association has warned of the dangers of further delays.

“With just over three months to go until the UK leaves the EU, any delay to a future agreement is particularly concerning,” BRC chief executive Helen Dickinson said.

“Retailers urgently need certainty about what our future trading relationship with our neighbours on the continent will be.

“A no-deal outcome would harm consumers, resulting in higher prices and less choice on the shelves. We call on parliament to urgently find a workable proposal to avoid a catastrophic no-deal Brexit. Time is running out.”

May has returned to mainland Europe today in a last-ditch effort to renegotiate controversial areas of her Brexit proposal, focusing largely on ensuring that the Northern Irish backstop would never come into force, despite No. 10 admitting a rapid breakthrough was unlikely.

A vote on the final deal could now be delayed until January, significantly raising the prospect that the UK will fall out of the EU without a deal.

Earlier this month, the Bank of England warned that a no-deal Brexit could drive up shop prices by as much as 10 per cent, causing chaos for both retailers and consumers.

Weeks earlier, a study conducted by Retail Economics and Squire Patton Boggs revealed that over a third or retailers said they were “under-prepared” for a no-deal scenario.

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