Food traders say impacts of Brexit 'could get worse'

Voices from within Scotland's food and drink industry are warning of price rises and potential shortages when new Brexit rules on imports come into force in April. According to James Withers, of trade body Scotland Food and Drink, the impact has been "horrendous". He says the seafood sector alone was losing "about a million pounds a day".

"There's no sign of any improvement soon," Withers says. "In fact [there are] many signs things could get worse."

According to the BBC¸ the UK government said it was working closely with businesses to make sure they could "take advantage of the opportunities" that leaving the European Union brings. It said businesses were adjusting well to the new trade rules, which are being phased in over the next few months, and it was offering extensive advice and support.

When Great Britain finally left the single market, the EU insisted on the immediate introduction of controls on exports to the continent but the UK government opted to wait until 1 April to introduce similar checks on imports. Withers: "Those checks, when they're put in place, could also make things slow, more expensive and a lot more complex for EU businesses who need to sell products into businesses here. And that's a big issue for supermarkets and will be a big issue for many food companies who get ingredients from Europe."

Making matters worse some imports are 20% more expensive than they were last winter, a rise which attributed in part to Brexit-related border disruption.

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