Retail leaders have been digesting the implications of the UK’s ongoing Brexit crisis in light of last week’s vote by Parliament to extend Article 50.
Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“[The] vote offers a glimmer of hope, but it is now absolutely essential that MPs put aside their differences and coalesce around a positive route forward.
“Without definitive action by MPs in the next six days, we will see the UK crashing out of the EU on March 29th without a deal. This would inevitably lead to higher prices and less choice on the shelves for consumers. The uncertainty surrounding a no deal Brexit is already harming the UK economy.
“Britain stands on a knife edge. Parliament must put an end to this uncertainty.”
The BRC chief exec also issues a statement following the government’s announcement of the ‘no-deal’ tariff schedule.
“At last businesses have some clarity about the tariff schedule they will face under a no deal Brexit. Already hundreds of ships are on their way to Britain and are only now discovering what tariffs they may face.
“Consumers look to be no better off as a result of a mix of tariffs and quotas on food and other products. We remain particularly concerned about tariffs on certain clothes and textiles – a good proportion of which consumers were getting tariff-free from countries like Italy and Turkey.
“However, it is the non-tariff barriers which will have the greatest impact on consumers. Tariffs, checks, and increased documentation requirements will all result in delays, higher prices, and reduced choice for consumers. This is an inevitable consequence of a no deal Brexit.”
“The announcement that there will be no enforcement of custom checks and tariffs moving across the Irish border presents the biggest risk. Without these checks and controls, and with essentially a different tariff schedule in operation, the system would be a goldmine for criminals seeking to take advantage of a no deal Brexit.”
“Parliament must find a way of taking no deal off the table or risk harming the people and businesses of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”