At an event held at the London School of Economics (LSE), Arla Foods will warn that if the findings of a LSE report prove true, non-tariff barriers to trade and restricted access to labour after Brexit will leave British consumers facing a dairy dilemma which could see the availability of butter, yoghurts and cheese become restricted.
The Government’s White Paper on the UK’s future relationship with the EU sets out proposals to ease trade between this country and Europe. But this is still to be agreed with the EU, and as is identified in the report from the LSE, The impact of Brexit on the UK dairy sector, any friction and any limitations on access to key skills will mean that UK consumers pay the price through less choice, higher prices, and potentially lower food standards.
Arla Foods will say that the issues identified in the LSE report mean a dairy dilemma in the UK, with three possible outcomes:
- That it will become much more difficult to import dairy products from Europe, leading to a shortage both of dairy staples and particularly of products such as speciality cheeses, where domestic supply is constrained by limited production capacity in an already tightly managed supply chain.
- Escalating pressure on costs, and ultimately increased consumer prices for dairy goods. Current dairy imports include cheese, butter, butteroil, whey, buttermilk and fermented products, yoghurt, concentrated milk, powders, milk and cream, infant formula and ice cream meaning that the impact could be widespread.
- That ways are found somehow to ramp-up production and cut farm costs, which in the short-term at least would inevitably undermine the world-leading standards of our dairy industry – something neither farmers nor consumers would accept.
This is in addition to costly impacts throughout the supply chain, problems that could be exacerbated by a shortage of vets, lorry drivers and farm workers post-Brexit.