Lords debate Committee’s report on Brexit and food prices
1 Apr 2019 02:40 PM
On Thursday 4 April, the House of Lords debates the EU Committee’s report Brexit: food prices and availability.
In February 2018, the House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee took evidence from groups representing the farming, food processing and retail sectors and consumers, and from academic experts, on what Brexit might mean for the price and availability of food in the UK.
The report of their inquiry, published in May 2018, concluded that a combination of tariffs and non-tariff barriers (such as additional paperwork and checks at borders) could lead to increased costs and significant disruption to the UK’s food supply chain. With 30 per cent of food eaten in the UK coming from the EU, the Committee found that neither importing more food from non-EU countries or producing more food in the UK could offer a like-for-like substitute for EU imports and that there would be difficult choices to make when negotiating future trade deals in order to strike a balance between maintaining high animal welfare and food safety standards and securing lower prices for consumers.
The Sub-Committee's Chairman, Lord Teverson, will open the debate on the report. Issues likely to be raised include:
- The impact that the imposition of tariffs on UK exports to the EU, and the Government's plans not to impose tariffs on imports of most goods in a 'no deal' Brexit, would have on UK food prices
- The lack of progress in securing trade agreements with non-EU countries, and the impact this could have on food prices and supplies
- How the Government will maintain food safety and biosecurity, in light of its decision not to impose checks on food imports from the EU in a 'no deal' scenario
- The impact of the additional border checks and controls that the EU will apply to UK food exports
- Whether the Government intends to implement any further measures to tackle potential workforce shortages in the UK's food and farming industries, as a result of fewer EU nationals choosing to come to the UK
- The pressure on Government to lower requirements for animal welfare and food safety standards when negotiating future trade deals