A no deal Brexit could see tariffs as high as 45% placed on everyday foods leading retail bodies in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic have claimed.
In a stark warning about the dangers of a no deal, the groups united to outline how shoppers across the British Isles could be affected.
With less than 40 days until the UK leaves the European Union, Aodhán Connolly, director of the Northern Ireland Retail Consortium, Thomas Burke, director of Retail Ireland and William Bain of the British Retail Consortium said household could find budgets squeezed and the reduced availability of some goods.
These tariffs could see increases of up to 45% on some everyday food items should the UK and EU27 revert to World Trade Organisation Most Favoured Nation Tariffs. While these could be the top line tariffs, there are also concerns regarding the cost implications of non-tariff barriers such as checks and delays.
“A no-deal Brexit brings tariffs, customs processes, checks and costs which our industry, and Northern Ireland families in particular, cannot afford to absorb,” said Mr Connolly.
“Our households already have half of the discretionary income of British households and less than those in the Republic of Ireland.
“A no-deal Brexit will hit us first and hit us hardest. This is not acceptable.
“A hard Brexit means a hard border and the disintegration of supply chains that have been built up over 40 years of EU membership. This is not a binary choice for Northern Ireland between trade with the UK and trade with the EU. Our economy is built on access to both markets and we need that to survive. No-deal makes NI a less competitive place to do business and a more expensive place to live.”
Mr Burke said a ‘no deal’ Brexit would have devastating economic consequences.
“Our members continue to work hard to plan for all possible eventualities, but the ongoing uncertainty is damaging our industry and impacting our customers.”