Shoppers could be faced with much higher prices on their weekly shop due to huge post-Brexit tariffs.
Unless a free trade deal is secured with the EU, huge costs could be transferred to shoppers.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) noted that supermarkets and customers will face a £3.1billion annual tariff for food and drink.
The group said that retailers will have “nowhere to go other than to raise the price of food ” in order to afford the bill.
Many other retailers, who sell products other than food, will also be faced with “large tariff bills” for EU products.
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This could increase the cost of shopping.
Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC, said: “Unless we negotiate a zero-tariff deal with the EU, the public will face higher prices for their weekly shop.
“This would prevent harm to shoppers, retailers and the wider economy.”
The EU is the UK’s biggest trade partner – and they make up four fifths of our food imports.
The UK published a new tariff schedule in May which will be implemented from January 1 2021 unless a new deal is agreed.
In the schedule, a whopping 85% of food imported from the EU will pay more than 5% in tariffs.
The average tariff on imported food would be more than 20%.
A massive 48% tariff is expected to be placed on beef mince.
While cucumbers will face a 16% tariff and lettuce 10%,
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August’s retail price index indicated a 2.8% increase in the price of ambient food.
That’s tins, dried foods or long-life purchases, likely to have increased due to demand ahead of local lockdowns.
Andrew Opie continued: “UK consumers have benefited from great value, quality, and choice of food thanks to our ability to trade tariff-free with the EU.
“There is no time to waste, the UK and EU must hammer out a final arrangement as soon as possible.
“Coronavirus is already making life hard for consumers, particularly those on lower incomes, and a no-deal Brexit will have a massive impact on their ability to afford essential goods.”
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