Members of the British retail sector have hit out at the UK government over its claims to be preparing stockpiles of food if the country crashes out of the European Union in March 2019, having failed to reach a final agreement with Brussels.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC), which represents more than two thirds of businesses in the sector came out with a stinging rebuke of the government's suggestion that retailers themselves should be preparing stockpiles and the government's role is merely to provide guidance.
"Stockpiling of food is not a practical response to a no-deal on Brexit and industry has not been approached by Government to begin planning for this. Retailers do not have the facilities to house stockpiled goods and in the case of fresh produce, it is simply not possible to do so. Our food supply chains are extremely fragile and this is yet further demonstration of the need for an agreement on the backstop to ensure frictionless trade is maintained after the 29 March 2019," the BRC's statement read.
The possibility of Britain crashing out of the EU with no agreement has become a more distinct possibility in recent weeks given the divisions at the heart of the British government between those angling for a soft Brexit and those in favour of a deeper cutting of ties with the Continent.