Brexit added 6% to UK food bills, researchers say


A plate of traditional fish and chips with a pickle on a table at a seaside fish and chip shop in Brighton, Britain December 22, 2015. REUTERS/Russell Boyce

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LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) – Additional trade barriers created by Britain’s exit from the European Union and the ensuing trade deal have added 6% to the cost of food, researchers estimated on Wednesday. the London School of Economics and other universities.

The research compared the price changes of food imported from the European Union with the prices of food from more distant countries.

Foods mainly imported from the EU, such as fresh pork, tomatoes and jam, saw higher price increases than those such as tuna and pineapples, which mostly come from elsewhere.

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“This research demonstrates a clear and robust impact of Brexit-induced trade frictions on rising food prices for UK consumers at a time when the economy is already facing inflationary pressures from global sources,” said one of the researchers, Nikhil Datta.

UK consumer price inflation hit a 30-year high of 7% in March, official data showed, and food costs are nearly 10% higher than a year ago.

Research has shown that the biggest increase in the price of food imported from the EU came in January 2021 after the end of an 11-month post-Brexit transition period and the entry into force of a free trade agreement. -exchange brokered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government.

While the trade deal means there are no customs duties on goods moving between Britain and the EU, customs delays and food safety checks have periodically resulted in long delays for the freight traffic at the port of Dover, the main link to France.

Customs documents are also required.

The 6% rise in food prices attributable to rising trade barriers took place between the end of 2019 – just before Britain officially left the EU – and September 2021.

The study was based on comparing detailed item-by-item UK Consumer Price Index figures with separate trade flow data, which the researchers say allowed them to disentangle all the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research did not find an inflationary impact of Brexit on non-food imports. This likely reflects how perishables were more susceptible to delays, the researchers said.

“While Brexit is not the main driver of rising inflation or the ‘cost of living’ crisis, this report provides clear evidence that it has led to a substantial rise in food prices, which will hit the poorest families the hardest,” said Jonathan Portes of UK in a Changing Europe, an academic body that supported the research.

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Reporting by David Milliken Editing by Mark Heinrich

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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