Retail unions warn “no deal Brexit would have devastating consequences”

// Retail bodies warn shoppers that no-deal Brexit could have consequences
// Everyday food items could increase by up to 45%
// The cost of making fresh food and drink available could increase

The leading retail bodies in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK have teamed up to warn shoppers that a no-deal Brexit would have “devastating economic consequences”.

The UK is set to depart from the EU on March 29, and Northern Ireland Retail Consortium director Aodhán Connolly has joined Retail Ireland director Thomas Burke and William Bain, head of EU and international at the British Retail Consortium, to share their concerns of how a no-deal Brexit could mean less availability of products.

The organisations have also warned on increased tariffs and regulatory checks which means the cost of making fresh food and drink available could increase, while everyday food items could increase by up to 45 per cent.

“A no-deal Brexit brings tariffs, customs processes, checks and costs which our industry, and Northern Ireland families in particular, cannot afford to absorb,” Connolly said.

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

Burke said: “A ‘no deal’ Brexit would have devastating economic consequences and must be avoided.

“However, regardless of the type of Brexit agreed over the coming weeks, retailers will see an increase in their operating costs arising from checks at ports and other supply chain disruption.”

Meanwhile, Bain said: “It is not just the people on the island of Ireland that this will affect. Those in Great Britain will see the price of goods from Ireland and Northern Ireland rise.

“Our supply chains are highly integrated, with food ingredients coming from both Ireland and the EU, and 60 per cent of the £2 billion of Northern Irish agri-food bound for Great Britain crosses the Irish sea via Dublin.

“This will affect the price of shopping in the Prime Minister’s constituency of Maidenhead in the same way as it will in Belfast or Dublin, with cost rises.

“The trade bodies were also united in their call for a solution, arguing that the time for brinksmanship and political games has long past.

“A ‘no deal’ outcome would have devastating economic consequences, potentially jeopardising years of positive economic development and integration across the islands of the UK and Ireland.

“It is imperative that this is avoided.”

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