A near empty food cupboard. Photo: Oxfam.

SNP MSP Stuart McMillan has said the UK Government needs to end their dangerous opposition to membership of the single market and customs union, following fresh warnings that food bills will rise sharply and food supplies will be disrupted without a Brexit deal.

The warnings have been presented by a Lords EU Environment Committee report that said there was a “striking” contrast between concerns raised by the industry and the Tory Government’s confidence about the impact of Brexit on the price and availability of food.

Peers warn that “no deal” could mean an average 22% tariff on food imports and labour shortfalls leading to greater costs for recruitment and wages, which would be passed on to consumers.

The Committee added that whilst this “would not equate to a 22% increase in food prices for consumers, there can be no doubt that prices paid at the checkout would rise”.

“To counteract this, the government could cut tariffs on all food imports, EU and non-EU, but this would pose a serious risk of undermining UK food producers who could not compete on price”, they said.

The report also warned that some businesses “may cease to be viable”, while raising concerns about jobs and the economy as a whole.

photo credit: BuhSnarf via photopin cc

Stuart McMillan MSP, who sits on Holyrood’s Europe Committee, said: “In 2016 no one voted for astronomic price hikes on their groceries, and this new report paints a bleak picture for many families who are already being hammered by Tory cuts and increasing living costs.”

“A Brexit no deal would be devastating for shoppers at the checkout”, he said. “It is clear the Tories cannot be trusted. They ignore warning after warning, blinded by their Brexit obsession.

“Whether you voted Brexit or not – people can’t afford more hardship compounded by the Tories. It’s time they took a reality check.”

He continued: “It’s imperative that Scotland remains in the world’s biggest single market and customs union – which is around eight times bigger than the UK market alone – otherwise the consequences could be truly devastating for Scottish families.”

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