Nick Clegg warns of crippling rises in food and wine prices if we leave EU without trade deal
The former Deputy PM says the UK faces a “cliff edge” on food prices and that last week’s war over the price of Marmite Is “just the beginning”.
Mr Clegg, now the Lib Dems’ EU spokesman, will publish a new report warning of crippling trade tariffs which will slap 59% onto the price of imported and exported beef, 40% on cheese, 38% on chocolate and 14% on wine if we do not get a trade deal in two years.
“It’s clear that Marmite was just the tip of the iceberg,” Mr Clegg said.
“A hard Brexit will lead us off a cliff edge towards higher food prices, with a triple whammy of punishing tariffs, customs checks and workforce shortages.”
Mr Clegg said that if the Government does not secure a new trade agreement with the EU during the two-year countdown, tariffs will automatically be imposed as soon as we leave the trading bloc.
The Common External Tariff on imports from the UK means food producers will have to pay export charges worth 47% on milk, 40% on cheese, 59% on beef, and 40% on lamb to sell into the EU.
And he said that under world Trade Organisation rules the same tariffs will have to be slapped onto products imported from Europe – sending the prices of mealtime favourites such as French wine and cheese or Belgian chocolate soaring.
“The only way the Government will be able to avoid this outcome is if it maintains Britain’s membership of the Single Market,” Mr Clegg said.
“We must hold Theresa May’s Government to account and fight to ensure what comes next is best for British consumers and businesses.”