Yellowhammer Documents Lay Bare 'Grisly Crisis' Facing UK Food In No-Deal Brexit

By Steve Wynne-Jones
Share this article
Yellowhammer Documents Lay Bare 'Grisly Crisis' Facing UK Food In No-Deal Brexit

Retail and food industry representative groups in the UK have responded to the publication of the Yellowhammer documents, which outline the 'reasonable worst case assumptions' about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the UK.

The documents, which were published yesterday following a vote in Parliament, outline potential challenges for the food sector in the event of a no-deal Brexit, including a 'decrease' in fresh food supplies, potential reduced availability and increased prices, and 'significant disruption' for goods coming in and out of the UK.

'Significant And Adverse Changes'

Commenting on the documents, the chief executive of the Food & Drink Federation, Ian Wright, said, “It is as the Food and Drink Federation have been saying for the best part of two years now - it lays bare the grisly crisis facing the UK's food and drink supply chain in a no-deal Brexit scenario.

"Shoppers have rightly come to expect a wide range of products on supermarket shelves. In a no- deal Brexit scenario there would be significant and adverse changes to product availability, and random shortages. Government must be upfront about the chaos a no-deal Brexit would bring.”

'Consumer Choice Will Decrease'

Elsewhere, Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the British Retail Consortium, said that the Yellowhammer documents confirm what retailers have been saying for the past three years – "fresh food availability will decrease, consumer choice will decrease, and prices will rise. This isn’t good for the British public and this isn’t good for British retailers.


“A no deal Brexit in November represents the worst possible timing for the retail industry and the consumers it serves. Warehousing availability will be limited as retailers prepare for Black Friday and Christmas, many fresh fruit and vegetables will be out of season in the UK, and imports will be hampered by disruption through the Channel Straits that could reduce flow by up to 60% for up to three months."

Dickinson added that while retailers are doing "all they can" to prepare for a no-deal Brexit, the actual impact of such a scenario cannot be completely mitigated.

"The fact remains that a damaging, no deal Brexit is in no one’s interests and it is vital that a solution is found, and fast, that ensures frictionless tariff-free trade with the EU after our departure," she added.

'Sort Out The Mess'

The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW), whose 410,000 members largely work in the retail sector as well as transport, distribution and food manufacturing, said that it was resolute in its opposition to "any Brexit deal that fails to protect workers’ rights, ensures frictionless trade and maintains the Good Friday Agreement by avoiding a hard border in Ireland," said Paddy Lillis, USDAW general secretary.


“We now have a Government without a majority, riven by internal party divisions and consumed by Brexit," he added. "Their prorogation of Parliament has now been declared unlawful and the Prime Minister should immediately recall MPs to sort out the mess the Tories have made of Brexit.

“Our members and their employers need certainty, the failure of Brexit has gone on for far too long and needs to be resolved by a vote of the public.”

© 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.

Get the week's top grocery retail news

The most important stories from European grocery retail direct to your inbox every Thursday

Processing your request...

Thanks! please check your email to confirm your subscription.

By signing up you are agreeing to our terms & conditions and privacy policy. You can unsubscribe at any time.