// Grocers & shoppers face an annual £3.1bn tariff bill for food and drink in event of no-deal Brexit
// In event of no-deal, 85% of food imported from EU will face tariffs of over 5%, but the average tariff for all food imported will be 20%
Grocery shoppers will face higher prices for their weekly shop due to mammoth tariffs unless a free trade deal is secured with the EU, a leading trade body has warned.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said supermarkets and their shoppers will face an annual £3.1 billion tariff bill for food and drink.
The industry group said retailers would have “nowhere to go other than to raise the price of food” to mitigate the tariffs if there is no deal before Christmas.
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It said many non-food retailers would also face “large tariff bills” for EU-sourced products, increasing the cost on struggling shops and their customers.
“Unless we negotiate a zero-tariff deal with the EU, the public will face higher prices for their weekly shop,” BRC food director Andrew Opie said.
“This would prevent harm to shoppers, retailers and the wider economy.”
The EU is the UK’s largest trading partner and the source of four-fifths of UK food imports, the BRC said.
In May, the UK published its new tariff schedule, which will be implemented by January 1 next year if a deal is not agreed.
Under the schedule, 85 per cent of foods imported from the EU will face tariffs of more than five per cent, while the average tariff on food imported from the EU would be over 20 per cent.
The figures revealed that we are likely to see a 48 per cent tariff on beef mince, 16 per cent on cucumbers and 10 per cent on lettuce.
The latest monthly retail price index for August revealed fresh food prices increased by 0.2 per cent, while inflation for ambient food accelerated to 2.8 per cent for the month.
Earlier this month, Morrisons chief executive David Potts said grocery prices would increase in a no-deal Brexit scenario.
Opie said: “UK consumers have benefited from great value, quality, and choice of food thanks to our ability to trade tariff-free with the EU.
“There is no time to waste, the UK and EU must hammer out a final arrangement as soon as possible.
“Coronavirus is already making life hard for consumers, particularly those on lower incomes, and a no-deal Brexit will have a massive impact on their ability to afford essential goods.”
with PA Wires