No food shortage after no-deal, Yellowhammer confirms

The no-deal document confirms there won't be food shortages, but prices will go up
The no-deal document confirms there won't be food shortages, but prices will go up

The UK will not experience an overall food shortage in the event of a no-deal Brexit, a government document has said.

The five-page Operation Yellowhammer contingency plan was published on Wednesday (11 September) after MPs voted to force its release.

It details a series of 'reasonable worst case assumptions' if the UK abruptly leaves the EU on 31 October.

On food supplies, it says there will not be an overall shortage of food.

However, supplies of “certain types of fresh food” would be reduced, the document warns.

“In combination, these two factors will not cause an overall shortage of food in the UK but will reduce availability and choice of products and will increase price, which could impact vulnerable groups.”

The document adds: “Low income groups will be disproportionately affected by any price rises in food and fuel.”

It goes on to say that the UK growing season will have come to an end by the 31 October and that supply will be under increased pressure as a result as a result of Christmas.

“Government will not be able to fully anticipate all potential impacts to the agri-food supply. There is a risk that panic buying will cause of exacerbate food supply disruption,” it says.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said the document 'confirms' what it has been saying in the event of no-deal.

"Fresh food availability will decrease, consumer choice will decrease, and prices will rise," Helen Dickinson of the BRC said.

The Food and Drink Federation added that the document 'lays bare the grisly crisis' of no-deal on the UK's food supply chain.

Chief Executive Ian Wright said: “Shoppers have rightly come to expect a wide range of products on supermarket shelves.

“In a no-deal Brexit scenario there would be significant and adverse changes to product availability, and random shortages.”

Michael Gove, who is now responsible for no-deal planning, said 'revised assumptions' will be shortly published.

A document outlining the mitigations the government has put in place will also be released soon, he said.