New research by the London School of Economics (LSE) has revealed that British households have incurred a £7 billion ($8 billion) cost since Brexit due to trade barriers affecting food imports from the EU.
The LSE’s latest report on the impact of leaving the EU indicates that trade barriers have consistently hindered imports, resulting in an average increase of £250 ($308) in household bills alone.
While the researchers calculated that the cost of food in the UK has surged by 25% since 2019, they believe this increase would have been reduced by nearly a third, reaching only 17%, if the post-Brexit trade restrictions hadn’t been in place.
Largely, these restrictions involve additional paperwork to verify goods and veterinary checks on livestock.
Recent inflation data from the Office for National Statistics indicates that the UK has the highest food inflation rate among industrialized nations.
Although the consumer prices index measure of inflation decreased to 8.7% in April from 10.1% in March, food inflation has remained high at 19% over the past year.
Nikhil Datta, one of the authors of the report, expressed concern that food costs may continue to rise.
“Not everything has been instituted at the border,” said Datta. “For instance, not all veterinary checks are being carried out.
“It could be that there will be no adjustment in prices when they do take effect because businesses have already accounted for the extra costs. Or the extra barriers, when they come into effect, do increase prices and householders will face a further increase in their food costs.”
Another recent report by the Centre for European Reform discovered Brexit has cost the UK £33 billion ($40 billion) in lost trade and investment already, confirming the economic damage is worse than previously feared.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s spokesperson dismissed criticism from notable eurosceptic politicians regarding Brexit last week, stating that Britain’s departure from the European Union had not been a failure.