Brexit bites: Tesco stockpiles food and warns of price hikes as threat of no-deal EU exit raises fears of empty shelves
Britain’s biggest grocery retailer Tesco has revealed it is stockpiling products and warned that customers could face dramatic price increases and food shortages in the “worst case” scenario of a no-deal Brexit.
Tesco chairman John Allan has said that leaving the European Union without a trade deal could see supermarkets face substantial tariffs on certain products. He also said that the supermarket giant has stockpiled goods in preparation for the “worst case" scenario of a no-deal exit from the bloc.
With the deadline for a deal fast approaching, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen failed to overcome the impasse during a three hour dinner on Wednesday evening.
“Tesco is getting ready for the worst case which is a no-deal. We are trying to ensure that we have stockpiled as much as we can of long-life products either in our own warehouses or with our suppliers,” Allan said.
“And what can we do to minimise the risk of food being caught in what is probably going to be the most difficult place, which is the port of Dover and alongside that.”
The supermarket boss said Tesco has been diverting shipments to other ports in anticipation of disruption and delays for freight transport and of shortages of fresh food.
Allan added that food bills could rise by as much as five percent as tariffs will “almost inevitably” to lead to higher prices.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab took issue with Allan’s comments, saying that he does not think five percent is a “figure that we recognise” and tariffs would be a “very minor proportion” of food prices.
“Of all the things that will be a challenge, I am not concerned about either supermarket cupboards running bare or the cost of food prices,” he told the BBC.
“Equally, there will be some bumps along the road if we don’t get a free trade deal, that’s the inevitable consequence of change. But we will be well braced and well prepared to deal with those, and we are going to make a success of leaving the transition period, come what may,” he added.Also on rt.com ‘No British PM should accept those terms’: Johnson slams EU demands heading into final Brexit talks
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