The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has responded strongly to Michael Gove’s claims on The Andrew Marr Show* that a no deal Brexit would not result in any food shortages.
A spokesman for BRC said: “It is categorically untrue that the supply of fresh food will be unaffected under a no deal Brexit.
“The retail industry has been crystal clear in its communications with Government over the past 36 months that the availability of fresh foods will be impacted as a result of checks and delays at the border.
“Indeed, the Government’s own assessments showed that the flow of goods through the channel crossings could be reduced by 40-60% from day one, as would the ‘availability and choice’ of some foods. The BRC’s own assessment has shown that soft fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, tomatoes and lettuces, would likely see reduced availability as they are largely imported during the winter months.
“While retailers continue to work with their suppliers to maintain stocks of non-perishable goods and plan ahead for any disruption caused by a no deal Brexit, it is impossible to mitigate it fully as neither retailers nor consumers can stockpile fresh foods.
“The reality remains that a no deal Brexit in October would present the worst of all worlds for our high streets and those who shop there. Retailers will be preparing for Christmas, stretching already limited warehousing capacity, and the UK will be importing the majority of its fresh food from the EU, magnifying the impact of border delays.”
*Michael Gove: “There will be no shortages of fresh food” on The Andrew Marr Show – Sunday 1st September 2019.