UK industry leaders reacted to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to stop Brexit negotiations on Friday.
ALLIE RENISON, SENIOR POLICY ADVISOR AT THE INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS
HELEN DICKINSON, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF THE BRITISH RETAIL CONSORTIUM:
“There is nothing retailers can do to insulate consumers from the impact of 3 billion pounds of new tariffs on food in our supermarkets. Moreover, new checks and red tape that will apply from 1st January will create additional disruption in the supply of many goods that come from or through the EU.
Government must do what is necessary to agree a zero-tariff agreement, or else it will be the public that pay the price.”
IAN WRIGHT, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FOOD AND DRINK FEDERATION:
“The Prime Minister’s statement signals that we are heading into very dangerous territory.
“In the event of a no-deal Brexit, shoppers will – literally – pay a heavy price. Imported food and drink from the EU will face eye-watering tariffs, averaging 18 per cent, and kick-starting price rises.
“More than four years on from the referendum, clarity is needed now more than ever. A pro-business, ambitious trade agreement remains the best outcome.
“The last time we were told to prepare for a no-deal scenario you saw a big uptick in stockpiling. There simply isn’t the cash or staff capacity to make that possible this time round, with a lot of employees still furloughed amid weak demand.
“A lot of small businesses have shelled out thousands to make their premises safe at a time when they had little or no revenue coming in, only to be told to close.
“If the Government wants firms to step up preparations for a new relationship with the EU, it needs to make doing so financially viable. At the moment, thousands of small businesses are running on near empty.”