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Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Brexit bites

As fuel and energy prices continue to soar, it seems that the cost of food is next. The Mirror reports on the view of the chair of Marks and Spencer that food prices could soar by 10% this year.

Archie Norman, a former Tory MP who chairs the supermarket, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme:

It wouldn't be surprising to see food price inflation over the course of the year running towards 8% to 10%. But we don't know that yet because it runs through the year, some has gone through now but quite a lot's still to come.”

Asked if food price rises would be “apocalyptic”, he said: “Um, I think, you, you, have to keep it in context.” He said wages were rising well and added he wouldn’t describe it as apocalyptic.

It came moments after official figures showed Britain's jobless rate has fallen to its lowest level for over 47 years - yet workers have seen their pay fall as inflation soars.

Regular pay excluding bonuses dropped by 2.9% in March when taking Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation into account - the biggest fall since November 2011.

Yesterday the governor of the Bank of England warned of "apocalyptic" food price rises due to the war in Ukraine.

Andrew Bailey used the eye-popping phrase as he admitted the situation is “very, very difficult” as inflation soars.

And despite talks on whether to use interest rate rises to bring inflation under control, Mr Bailey admitted “there’s not a lot we can do about 80% of it”.

Meanwhile Mr Norman hit out at Brexit checks on goods going into Northern Ireland and the Republic from the rest of the UK - as Boris Johnson prepares to rip up his own rules.

He said: “At the moment wagons arriving in the Republic of Ireland have to carry 700 pages of documentation, it takes eight hours to prepare the documentation.

) “Some of the descriptors particularly of animal product have to be written in Latin, it has to be in a certain typeface.”

Mr Norman said it takes 30% more driver time at a “very onerous cost of about £30m”

I wonder if Mr Norman voted to leave the EU or not. It isn't the protocol to blame here, but Brexit itself, and the deal Boris Johnson signed, despite all the warnings. Now, it is ordinary families who are reaping the consequences of this governmental incompetence.

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