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British shoppers urged to avoid stockpiling

British shoppers

Without a deal, the public will face more than £3 billion in food tariffs and higher prices throughout 2021, the British Retail Consortium said

British shoppers have been urged to avoid stockpiling food in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

The British Retail Consortium said retailers are increasing stocks to ensure a “sufficient supply of essential products” and that any impact to the food chain is likely to affect fresh produce like fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long.

Without a deal, after January 1 the public will face more than £3 billion in food tariffs and higher prices throughout 2021, the trade body said, adding that the uncertainty is making it harder for businesses to prepare.

Chief executive Helen Dickinson said: Retailers would have no choice but to pass on some of these additional costs to their customers, who would see higher prices filter through during 2021. Moreover, new checks and red tape that will apply from January 1 will create an additional burden for retailers and their customers.

Retailers are doing everything they can to prepare for all eventualities, increasing the stock of tins, toilet rolls and other longer life products so there will be sufficient supply of essential products. While no amount of preparation by retailers can entirely prevent disruption, there is no need for the public to buy more food than usual as the main impact will be on imported fresh produce, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, which cannot be stored for long periods by either retailers or consumers, she said.

Ms Dickinson warned that the public will “pay the price” of a failure to “agree a zero-tariff agreement”.

Earlier, British Chambers of Commerce president Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith told Sky News the UK needs a deal “as soon as possible”, adding: We need to understand how we are going to trade and what the rules are.

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