The FDF has hit back at claims of scaremongering over Brexit, after the minister in charge of the process accused them of making “lurid predictions” about the consequences of a ‘no deal’.
Brexit secretary Dominic Raab told the Conservative Party Conference predictions of chaos at the ports from the likes of the FDF and the BRC were coming from the “prophets of doom”.
He insisted the government was prepared for a no deal, despite his own department’s warnings of the impact on customs and last week’s prediction by business leaders that the food and drink industry faced a bureaucratic nightmare because of the sweeping changes they faced in red tape.
“It’s all very well for Dominic Raab to decry scaremongering on a no-deal Brexit,” said FDF chief executive Ian Wright. “But just two months ago he was the one raising the possibility of stockpiling food and calling in the squaddies to help.
“The lurid predictions he mentions are from his own colleagues in DExEU. Their technical notices lay bare just how severe blockages at the ports would be for food coming in and out of our country. Indeed, the government takes this so seriously that just last week it appointed a food supplies minister. The last person to occupy such a position oversaw the end of rationing in 1954.
“We face grisly consequences if we do not secure a deal with the EU - it is not scaremongering, it is scary. We are already seeing food and drink prices rise in response to the threat of a no-deal Brexit as businesses begin to stockpile and hedge currency risk. The government must act quickly if it is to protect the interest of shoppers and consumers, who have come to expect year-round availability of high-quality food and drink at all price points.”