Corbyn to meet shoppers amid warning over no-deal Brexit impact on food prices

Jeremy Corbyn is to visit a market in Scarborough to discuss the impact of a no-deal Brexit, as a study suggests it could cause the cost of a family shop to go up by £220 a year.

The Labour leader is to meet shoppers at Scarborough Public Market on Friday to discuss the impact of a deal-less departure on food bills.

Researchers at the University of Sussex have suggested the cost of food will increase by 7% next year in a no-deal scenario.

Boris Johnson has made a “do or die” declaration to leave by the October 31 deadline, regardless of whether he seals a new deal with Brussels.

The day before Mr Corbyn’s visit, Bank of England governor Mark Carney warned that no-deal would be an “instantaneous shock” on the economy and cautioned the pound would fall, inflation would rise and GDP would slow.

Chancellor Sajid Javid announced a £2.1 billion of spending for no-deal preparations. The funding package includes £1.1 billion already committed to plans for October 31 and £1 billion in reserve.

Food bank charity the Trussell Trust has called for a “dedicated hardship fund” to help those affected by any rise in food prices after Brexit, warning there are limits to how much they can prepare.

Mr Corbyn accused the Prime Minister of “gambling with people’s lives” by threatening a no-deal Brexit.

Ahead of the visit, Mr Corbyn said the impact of no-deal on food prices, jobs and our manufacturing industry “will be disastrous”.

He added: “After nine years of austerity holding down people’s pay, with food bank use at an all-time high and with millions of people living in poverty in one of the richest countries in the world, a hike in food prices will be unaffordable for many families.

“Instead of handing out tax cuts to the richest and staking all our futures on a trade deal with Donald Trump that risks the takeover of our NHS by US corporations, the Prime Minister should rule out no-deal and concentrate on improving the lives of people struggling to get by.”

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Garry Lemon, the Trussell Trust’s director of policy, external affairs and research, said: “Any form of Brexit risks increasing the cost of food and essentials, and therefore increasing need for food banks.

“We’re giving Brexit guidance to food banks – but there’s a limit to how much we can prepare for and mitigate its consequences.

“The responsibility to prevent more people being pulled into poverty lies with our government.

“We cannot rely on support driven by volunteers and food donations to pick up the pieces, particularly in the event of no-deal.

“To anchor people from poverty as Brexit unfolds, our government must ensure additional protections such as a dedicated hardship fund are in place throughout, alongside an end to the five-week wait for Universal Credit payment.”

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