Ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU at 11pm this evening, the British Retail Consortium has called for a trade deal that “puts the customer first”.
Chief executive, Helen Dickinson said “a comprehensive trade deal” should now form the “most important” part of the government’s negotiations.
”“Even though the UK is leaving the EU, consumers can rest assured that they will still find the same products at the same great prices, both online and in stores, throughout the 2020 transition period,” she said. ”What happens after will depend on the numerous trade negotiations that the UK will now be engaging in, and we look forward to the opportunities that new trade deals may have for consumers around the world.”
Dickinson added: ”Most important among all the government’s negotiations is the need for a comprehensive trade deal with the European Union. We need a UK-EU deal which puts consumers first: one that continues zero-tariff trade and minimises any new barriers to trade. Without these, it will be the public who will face higher costs and reduced choice on the shelves. A pragmatic approach is essential if we are to ensure the NI protocol is workable from next January, without damaging trade between Northern Ireland and it’s neighbours to the East and South.”
Ahead of this evening’s exit from Europe, UK manufacturers and suppliers have also expressed alarm about the uncertainty created by government plans for a new post-Brexit immigration regime and the possibility of a skills shortage.