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BRC warns of gaps on shelves post Brexit

Trade association the British Retail Consortium has warned that Brexit brings the possibility of food shortages if the UK does not resolve issues around customs processes.

The report by BRC claims that the choice and availability of affordable, quality products for consumers is at risk without additional agreements and investment to supplement a customs deal. It added that significant investment in ports, roads and transport infrastructure needs to be in place when Brexit happens, and that agreements must also be signed to prevent goods being held up at ports and docks through red tape.

The BRC also stated that European supply chains are a key part to delivering the goods into the UK.

“A strong deal on customs is absolutely essential to deliver a fair Brexit for consumers,” commented Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC.

“Whilst the Government has acknowledged the need to avoid a cliff-edge after Brexit day, a customs union in itself won’t solve the problem of delays at ports. So, to ensure supply chains are not disrupted and goods continue to reach the shelves, agreements on security, transit, haulage, drivers, VAT and other checks will be required to get systems ready for March 2019.

“We want to work with the Government to develop a system which works for consumers, so that there’s no difference in terms of the availability of affordable, quality products when they make purchases or visit stores post-Brexit. We believe our recommendations will help to achieve that and enable our world-leading retail industry to continue serving customers and contribute to the growth of the UK economy.”