Food

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 5th September 2018.

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Photo of Sue Hayman Sue Hayman Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent assessment he has made of the effect on the (a) viability of the food industry and (b) cost of food to consumers of the UK leaving the EU in 2019 without an agreement.

Photo of George Eustice George Eustice The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Defra is preparing for all scenarios, and there is ongoing engagement with industry and across Government to understand the implications of leaving the EU for the food industry, including a no deal scenario.

Over the coming months, the UK Government will be providing further information on our plans in order to guide businesses on how they can best prepare for the UK’s departure from the EU. Across Government we will publish around 70 specific technical notices to help businesses, including the food industry, to prepare for March 2019 in the event of a no deal scenario.

The key drivers of change in the cost of food are commodity prices, exchange rates and oil prices. These will continue to apply when we leave the EU. The UK Government does not directly control these factors, however we work closely with industry to promote transparency for consumers and internationally to promote open global markets.

Defra has conducted a range of analysis based on different EU departure scenarios. Such information is an important part of our evidence base informing the UK’s negotiating position. Even in the unlikely scenario of the UK leaving the EU without a deal, there would be a number of tools available to mitigate any price impacts on consumers. These include tariff rate suspensions, lowering the applied tariff on certain goods and opening up autonomous tariff rate quotas.

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