Minister 'doesn't accept' Tesco's prediction of post-Brexit food price surge

Oliver Dowden on BBC Breakfast

Oliver Dowden on BBC Breakfast - Credit: Twitter

A minister has said he "doesn't accept" Tesco's prediction that Brexit will drive food prices up by five percent.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden said consumers were better of trusting the environment minister than Tesco when it came to food price predictions brought on by Brexit.

Dowden joins a list of cabinet ministers who are denying that a no-deal Brexit would seriously impact Britain's food supply chain.

On Thursday, foreign secretary Dominic Raab dismissed concerns by Tesco chairman John Allan that leaving the EU without a trade deal could result in food shortages and price rises of 40pc on some products.

He went on to say Allan’s warning of a rise of up to 5% on a shopping basket is not a figure the government recognised and tariffs would be a “very minor proportion” of food prices.

“Of all the things that will be a challenge, I am not concerned about either supermarket cupboards running bare or the cost of food prices,” Raab said.

BBC Breakfast co-host Naga Munchetty told Dowden during an appearance: "You are very aware as people, during the Covid crisis, have lost jobs, have been furloughed, are struggling. Most people will feel an impact of a 3-5pc rise on their food bills alone.

"I haven't even started talking about 10pc on EU car parts, which will affect car trade."

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Dowden replied: "Well, I don't quite accept the numbers that Tesco's are putting out there -"

Munchetty cut in: "The UK's biggest retailer. Do you think it's got it largely wrong?"

"Well, I think if you listen to what the environment secretary said at the weekend, there will be tariff impacts but suggested the most they'd be was two percent," the minister responded.

Taking to Twitter, @Jo_WhiteheadUK wrote: "Tesco’s are just an expert in food supply, better not listen to them then."

Mark Pope added: "The company setting the price of goods says 3-5%. The man with no ability to influence the company says my mate says 2%. Who to believe?"

David Head reflected: "'Better to listen to George Eustice.' This is the depth to which #Brexit has brought us."

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