UK Retail Industry Rejects Gove Claim About Fresh Food Shortages
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has rejected claims by prominent government figure Michael Gove that there would not be fresh food shortages in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Gove, who holds the position of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, responsible for advising the Prime Minister on policy development and implementation, was commenting on BBC political discussion programme The Andrew Marr Show at the weekend.
When asked whether fresh food shortages could be affected if the UK exits the European Union without a deal, Gove said that while some food prices may rise, "everyone will have the food they need".
"There will be no shortages of fresh food," he added.
Responding to his comments, a spokesperson for the British Retail Consortium 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."
According to the BRC, soft fruits and vegetables, such as strawberries, tomatoes and lettuces are likely to be most affected, as these categories 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 spokesperson continued.
"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.”
© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Stephen Wynne-Jones. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine