House of Lords Committee to discuss Brexit impact on food prices

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

©iStock/
©iStock/
The House of Lords EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee will continue its inquiry into food prices and availability post Brexit as the group explore the risks and benefits of importing more food from non-EU countries.

The committee, which meets today​ (28 February), are set to investigate the impact of any post-Brexit trade tariffs and non-tariff barriers that include additional border checks and customs procedures.

Key to the discussions is the UK’s role and whether more food could be produced in the UK considering the reliance UK food industry has on EU labour.

Present at the session will be George Eustice MP, Minister of State Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, who has previously, spoke on the benefits the UK would reap on leaving the EU.

Speaking to the Yorkshire Post​, Eustice, the Conservative Party’s representative for Camborne and Redruth, spoke of how “debilitating and restrictive EU policy frameworks can be”.

Reward green farming

“Our ambition for farming in the future moves away from “direct payments” or subsidies and instead putting in place a framework of incentives and rewards for the delivery of public goods,” ​he added.

“Future farming policy will be a new system of financial incentives and rewards for environmentally sensitive farming and promoting good soil husbandry will be a key plank in that policy.”

The committee estimates that currently, 30% of food consumed in the UK comes from the EU, including over 83% of its fresh vegetables and 40% of fresh fruit. 

The EU remains the leading foreign supplier of food consumed in the UK with Africa supplying 5% and Asia, North and South America all providing a 4% share.

The three largest value imported commodity groups (at 2016 prices) were fruit & vegetables, meat and beverages

In 2016, fruit and vegetable imports were valued at €11.6bn (£10.3bn) while exports were worth €1.2bn (£1.1bn), giving a trade gap of €10.4bn (£9.2bn).

The second largest groups in terms of imports in 2015 were meat and beverages with imports of €7.04bn (£6.2bn) and €6.2bn (£5.5bn) respectively.

Related topics: Brexit, Food prices, Policy

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