The British Retail Consortium has said it is “deeply concerned” about Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement today that the UK should prepared for “No Deal” Brexit in January.
Johnson told the country to prepare for such an eventuality in a televised address today. saying that trade talks with the EU were “over”.
His official spokesperson stepped up the No Deal rhetoric after the address saying: “The trade talks are over – the EU have effectively ended them yesterday when they said they did not want to change their negotiating position.”
The European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, appeared to suggest this wasn’t the case when she Tweeted: “The EU continues to work for a deal, but not at any price. As planned, our negotiation team will go to London next week to intensify these negotiations.”
But the UK’s chief negotiator Lord Frost told EU negotiators that there was no point coming to London unless the EU changed its stance.
British Retail Consortium CEO Helen Dickinson said retailers would have no choice but to pass on the cost of tariffs to the general public if a No Deal were to go ahead.
“It is deeply concerning that the Prime Minister is now telling businesses to prepare for no deal with the EU. There is nothing retailers can do to insulate consumers from the impact of £3bn of new tariffs on food in our supermarkets. Moreover, new checks and red tape that will apply from 1 January will create additional disruption in the supply of many goods that come from or through the EU.
“Government must do what is necessary to agree a zero-tariff agreement, or else it will be the public that pay the price.”