Michael Gove admitted that there is a risk food prices will increase after Brexit and that leaving the European Union without a deal could lead to additional costs on food production.
Andrew Marr presented Environment Secretary Michael Gove on BBC1 this morning with figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) which warned the price of cheddar cheese could increase by 32 per cent, and beef by 29 pc.
Speaking about whether food prices would increase, Gove said: ‘I think there is a risk of that, yes.
‘It is one scenario, but it is not the scenario we plan to go down.
‘One of the things that we can do once we leave the European Union is that we can set tariffs at a level that we believe is appropriate, both to protect the consumer, but also to look after the most vulnerable and important sectors of food production at home.
‘That is a premise with a particularly high level of tarrifs, those which the EU applies to of course goods from outside.’
The Environment Secretary acknowledged that a no deal Brexit could lead to ‘friction’.
He said: ‘The friction that would follow leaving without a deal, would impose additional costs on food production here, that is why it’s so important that we secure a deal.’
Andrew Marr suggested Gove had previously said he would take the farmer’s side over the consumer’s side, however Gove insisted he was only on ‘the British people’s side.’
‘I think it’s vitally important that we have a system of tariffs that both allows us to maintain as far as possible price stability, but also to protect a vulnerable areas of production,’ said Gove.
‘I don’t think anyone would thank us Andrew, if we saw sheep farmers going out of business.
‘It would be bad for the environment and bad for the validity of our food security in the future.
‘It’s a balanced approach.’
He added that increases in price would only be ‘temporary’ measures in the event of a no deal.