More reports on: Agriculture, Foods / beverages

UK food prices set to rise due to Brexit vote

27 June 2016

Food prices in the UK are set to increase due the Brexit vote, the National Farmers Union (NFU) has warned.

Likening the referendum report to a ''political car crash'', NFU president, Meurig Raymond, has warned that the UK's dependence on imports coupled with a weakened pound would mean the country could expect to see the prices of food items increase.

Following the referendum result, the pound fell to its lowest value since 1986, falling by up to 13 per cent as news of the Brexit vote sent shockwaves across the world.

Raymond told The Guardian, ''Sadly, we only produce 60 per cent of the food we consume. We've seen our self-sufficiency fall dramatically, so we are very dependent on imported food.

''A weaker pound will mean higher imported food value. I would say to government [it] could easily be held to ransom by other parts of the world if there is a climatic disaster or if currency is weak.''

He further pointed out that EU subsidies for UK farmers amounted to 2.4 billion - 3 billion a year, depending on exchange rates, and helped keep the sector afloat.

''The average income of a farmer was just over 20,000 in 2014, and 55 per cent of that was EU money, so that's how important that money is,'' said Raymond.

The UK exported 60 per cent of its food exports to the EU, and in the absence of the sales the industry could face ruin.

The situation could worsen due to a shortfall in labour, as workers who had enjoyed freedom of movement across the EU and came back to the UK would no longer be available to pick home-grown fruit and vegetables.

Farmers were also concerned that losing hand-outs extended under the EU's Common Agricultural Policy to support production would further increase prices.

 search domain-b