New research suggests Brexit has cost British households nearly £7billion due to rising food prices.
The London School of Economics (LSE) researchers found that average UK shopping bills have increased by an average of £250, with the cost of food increasing by a whopping 25% since 2019. And the LSE study said this rise was down to red tape surrounding trade barriers, which are hampering imports.
Since leaving the EU, the UK has needed extra paperwork to validate goods and veterinary checks on livestock. The LSE report said: “Between December 2019 and March 2023, food prices rose by almost 25%.”
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“This analysis suggests that in the absence of Brexit this figure would be eight percentage points (30%) lower.”
Annual food inflation is almost as high as it’s ever been, with the cost of some basic goods rising by 46% in the past 12 months, which has caused further strain on the cost-of-living crisis.
The overall cost to British households due to all the red tape is said to be £6.95 billion – and the UK has the highest food inflation rate in the industrialized world. The price rises of products more exposed to Brexit are not linked to things like Covid lockdowns or Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, say the LSE.
“The fact that the results are driven entirely by products with high non-tariff barriers imported from the EU offers strong evidence that Brexit is the driving force behind these effects,” say the researchers.
One of the report’s authors is Nikhil Datta and he painted a bleak picture, telling the Guardian: “Not everything has been instituted at the border. For instance, not all veterinary checks are being carried out.
“It could be that there will be no adjustment in prices when they do take effect because businesses have already accounted for the extra costs.
“Or the extra barriers, when they come into effect, do increase prices and households will face a further increase in their food costs.”