U.K. Reassures Citizens There Will Be Enough to Eat After Brexit
(Bloomberg) -- With just two months to go until Britain’s scheduled departure from the European Union, there was a sign of the uncertainty surrounding the divorce on Monday afternoon when Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman reassured families there will be enough to eat.
“The U.K. has a high level of food security based on a wide range of sources, including strong domestic production and imports from other countries,” James Slack told reporters in London on Monday afternoon. “This will continue to be the case whether we leave the EU with our without a deal.”
On the face of it, the statement -- in response to a warning from food retailers -- is uncontroversial. But the government of the world’s fifth-largest economy having to reassure its citizens they’ll have food is a mark of the atmosphere pervading the nation.
The U.K.’s biggest supermarket chains warned earlier on Monday of significant disruption if Britain tumbles out of the EU without a deal. Stockpiling fresh food is impossible and the World Trade Organization tariffs that Britain would revert to would “greatly increase import costs,” they said.
Unless May can get a Brexit deal through Parliament by March 29, the default is for Britain to leave the bloc without an agreement, potentially throwing up trade barriers that will snarl ports and prevent food supplies from getting into the country.
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