Pro-Remain organisations like the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the Times, the Guardian and the Financial Times have misled the public by mendaciously reporting, as if it were a fact, that food and drink prices will rise if we leave the EU without a ‘deal’, says Wetherspoon Chairman Tim Martin.
Speaking out today Martin cites Helen Dickinson, the BRC chief, supported by comments from UK Hospitality and the FDF, when she said last week that “the facts of a no-deal Brexit (are) reduced availability and higher prices of food and medicine, increased delays and red tape at borders, and a VAT bombshell for consumers and businesses”.
In reality, Martin says the EU is a “protectionist racket, which masquerades as a free trade system, but actually imposes high tariffs on non-EU rice, wine, oranges, coffee, children’s clothes and shoes, and over 12,000 other products.”
He states that “If the UK adopts free trade and reduces or ends tariffs, as countries like Singapore, Switzerland, New Zealand and Australia have, non-EU goods in shops and pubs will fall in price.
In addition, under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules, EU imports will continue, as now, to be tariff-free, since all countries must be treated equally in the absence of a free trade deal.”
As well as reducing prices for products like Aussie wine and Asian rice, which are already imported to the UK, ending tariffs, quotas and the general paraphernalia of EU protectionism will also increase competition, by encouraging suppliers who are today reluctant to trade with the EU.
With Brexit in view, Wetherspoon has already engaged with a number of non-EU suppliers in recent months, who are extremely keen to do business – and can often offer better terms than are available from the EU.
Martin adds “ The raison d’être of business is free trade and most people would assume that organisations like the CBI and the BRC would strenuously campaign for it post-Brexit.”
“ Yet their hypocritical argument for ‘frictionless borders’ applies only to the EU and disregards other countries where there is huge opportunity for tariff-free trade. In fact, they are closet supporters of the EU’s protectionist tariff and quota barriers.”
“The main danger is that these trade organisations, combined with their supporters in boardrooms, academia and the press, are bringing business and free markets into disrepute.”
“ By repeating the falsehood that food prices will inevitably rise without a deal, as in Dickinson’s recent statement, the business class will be perceived as lying to the public for the sake of its own political ideology.”
“Lastly, no deal will not only provide us with tariff-free trade but will also mean we avoid a £39 billion parting gift to the EU, while regaining control of our fishing waters and reinstating true democracy in the UK.
“It’s time for heads to roll in the trade organisations, boardrooms and media who have fed these false stories.Truth matters, and those who have misled customers and the public must pay the price.”