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Lords to debate report on Brexit and food prices

The House of Lords will tomorrow, Thursday 4th April, debate the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee's report, “Brexit: food prices and availability”.

The debate is being moved by Lord Teverson, Chair of the EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee, and Lord Gardiner of Kimble will respond on behalf of the Government.

The Committee's report was published in February 2018 and 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 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 debate is expected to start from around 5:00pm and 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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