A study published by the global research programme Sustainable & Healthy Food Systems (SHEFS) on Thursday claims that new trade tariffs that will come into being after a no-deal Brexit will increase the price of fruit and vegetables in the UK. The price of fruit and vegetables would increase by 4% on 1 January in a no-deal scenario. Some items may increase even more. The UK is highly reliant on vegetable imports, currently 65% of UK supply, according to research cited by the study.
The EU and UK are still enmeshed in Brexit talks. The pound rallied on Thursday after Ireland’s foreign minister said there was a “good chance” of a trade deal being agreed in the coming days.
In a no-deal scenario, those imports would be automatically subject to new UK ‘most-favoured nation’ tariffs. In leaving the bloc, the UK also benefited from over 40 free trade agreements that will no longer apply, which means imports from non-EU countries could be subject to even more tariffs.
"These new analyses show that under a no-deal Brexit it could become even more expensive in the UK to eat a healthy diet,” said Alan Dangour, professor of Food and Nutrition for Global Health, LSHTM, director of the Centre on Climate Change and Planetary Health. “The UK is heavily reliant on fruit and vegetables from the EU and the government’s inability to define a post-Brexit deal is putting the nutritional health of the nation at risk."