Stay up to date with notifications from The Independent

Notifications can be managed in browser preferences.

Brexit: No-deal outcome could force shopping bills up by £800 a year, says union

Tariffs imposed under WTO rules would increase the price of everyday goods such as butter, cheese and potatoes, analysis finds

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Saturday 08 June 2019 07:11 BST
Countdown to Brexit: How many days left until Britain leaves the EU?

The cost of a family’s weekly shop could rocket by more than £800 a year if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, a major union has warned.

Analysis for the GMB found that the bill for a typical supermarket basket of goods would increase by £15.61 a week – 17 per cent – if Britain was forced to fall back on World Trade Organisation rules, which require tariffs on many goods.

Several candidates for the Conservative leadership, including frontrunner Boris Johnson, have said they are ready to leave the EU without a deal on WTO terms on 31 October if it proves impossible to renegotiate Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement by that time.

Dominic Raab has refused to rule out suspending parliamentary sittings beyond the Halloween Brexit deadline to prevent MPs blocking a no deal.

Under the WTO’s “most favoured nation” rules, the price of a 250g pack of butter would rise by 42p (up 28 per cent). Other increases would include 62p for a 460g block of cheddar(up 29 per cent), 43p for a pack of eight sausages (up 25 per cent), 32p for 2.5kg of potatoes (up 14 per cent) and £2.56 for a bottle of red wine (up 32 per cent), according to Acuity Analysis.

Releasing the figures on the eve of GMB’s annual congress in Brighton, the union’s general secretary Tim Roache said: “Tory leadership contenders who casually throw around the idea of no-deal Brexit are completely ignoring what that reality would mean for working people.

“The prices of household essentials will go through the roof if hardliners like Raab and Johnson get their way, but why let people’s actual lives get in the way of personal ambition in the Tory party?

“Either they’re negligent in understanding what leaving on WTO terms means or they just don’t care.

“If the Tory party choose a leader prepared to walk us off a Brexit cliff edge, our country will live with the economic consequences of that for a generation. They won’t be forgiven easily for that at the ballot box.”

Labour MP Clive Lewis, a supporter of the Best for Britain campaign for a Final Say referendum, said: “These Tory leadership candidates who back a no-deal Brexit have no idea what it means to be working person in the UK.

“The reason they advocate this disastrous route is because they will never be in the difficult situation of having to make ends meet.

“It’s disgraceful that these people think they should lead the country. What we need is a Final Say on Brexit for the people to decide if this is in their interests or whether a wealthy elite are taking advantage of the 2016 referendum.”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in