Post-Brexit trade barrier pushes ‘household food bills by £250’

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Brexit food trade barrier have pushed up households bills by £250 on average, stated a new report, adding that cost of food in the UK had rocketed by 25 per cent since 2019.

According to researchers at the London School of Economics (LSE), households have paid £7bn since Brexit to cover the extra cost of trade barriers on food imports from the EU, .

The cost of food in the UK had rocketed by 25 per cent since 2019, the researchers calculated, adding that the cost would have gone by 17 per cent in the absence of post-Brexit trade restrictions.

“Between December 2019 and March 2023 food prices rose by almost 25 per cent. This analysis suggests that in the absence of Brexit this figure would be 8 percentage points (30 per cent) lower,” the report found.

“Between January 2022 and March 2023, the price of food products that were more exposed to Brexit (due to their reliance on imports from the EU before the referendum), increased by approximately 3.5 percentage points more than those that were not,” stated the report.

“These changes were entirely driven by products with high non-tariff barriers. Food products which fall into this category, such as meat and cheese imported from the EU, have seen price increases in the region of 10 percentage points higher relative to similar products which were not exposed to Brexit since January 2021, when the trade and cooperation (TCA) agreement began.”

Nikhil Datta, one of the report’s authors, said it was possible food costs would continue to spiral.

“Not everything has been instituted at the border. For instance, not all veterinary checks are being carried out,” The Guardian quoted Datta.

“It could be that there will be no adjustment in prices when they do take effect because businesses have already accounted for the extra costs.

“Or the extra barriers, when they come into effect, do increase prices and householders will face a further increase in their food costs.”

The report’s finding comes as the latest figures from the Office for National Statistics showed that the consumer prices index measure of inflation fell to 8.7 per cent in April from 10.1 per cent in March.

The sharp fall came as the record energy price increases for households a year earlier were not repeated, although this was offset by the rising cost of a weekly shop as food and non-alcoholic drink prices soared by 19 per cent in the 12 months to April.