An academic report in the UK has warned about food insecurity following the country’s divorce from the European Union
Three leading British
food academics on Monday published a paper — titled “A Food Brexit
: Time to get real” — that warns the UK is “sleepwalking” into a crisis over food supply following the exit from the EU, known as Brexit
They said Brexit could disrupt supply and food prices in Britain
on a scale “unprecedented for an advanced economy outside of wartime.”
“The silence about the future of UK food since the Brexit referendum is an astonishing act of political irresponsibility and suggests chaos unless redressed,” the report said.
“The country could sleep-walk into a food crisis, unless these problems are acknowledged and addressed,” it noted.
Nearly 52 percent of Britons opted to leave the bloc during the EU referendum in June last year. The United Kingdom
formally triggered the Brexit process on March 29 and divorce negotiations officially began on June 19.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May (R) arrives with RSA Chief Executive Matthew Taylor (L) to deliver a speech on modern working practices at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) in London, on July 11, 2017. (Photo by AFP)
Food prices are expected to rise up after Brexit because of the country’s dependence on imports and devaluation of the pound, the report said.
The paper stated that the Brexit negotiations have not so far included areas connected to food and farming which makes it a serious policy failure.
The document said a third of Britain’s food currently comes from EU countries but the government has apparently devised a strategy to deal with any shortfall if this supply is disrupted.
“The UK food system, consumer tastes and prices have been thoroughly Europeanised,” the report said. “This will be impossible to cut out or back by March 2019 without enormous consequences. The UK food system faces real challenges on food security.”
“British people often say they want to eat British, but in practice they do something rather different. About a third of UK’s food supply comes from the EU Member States. And over the last half century, tastes have changed dramatically,” it added.
Meanwhile, two major forecasting groups have said that the UK will have weaker economic performance due to a Brexit-related consumer-spending squeeze and muted earnings growth.
They said Britain’s business confidence is going to drop to its lowest point for almost six years as result of fragile business sentiment linked to Brexit-related anxiety, domestic political uncertainty.
On the other hand, the EU has demanded tens of billions of euros from Britain as part of its “Brexit bill” before Brussels launches talks on a free trade agreement with London.
Reports have suggested the demand from the EU could be as high as 100 billion euros (84.58 billion pounds). The UK government has said it will not pay this amount but will settle its “obligations” as it leaves.