Brexit: ‘Households £400-a-year worse off’

Households are more than £400-a-year worse off as a result of inflation caused by the Brexit vote, a research group has claimed.

A report from the Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) says the average household is paying £404-a-year extra on food and household items due to rising prices.

After the EU referendum vote, the falling value of the pound in comparison with most other currencies has seen the cost of many imports increased.

The CEP, which is based at the London School of Economics (LSE), said the impact of the price increases is equivalent to a £448 cut in annual pay for the average worker – the equivalent of one week’s pay.

Dr Thomas Sampson, who co-wrote the research, said: “Even before Brexit occurs, the increase in inflation caused by the Leave vote has already hurt UK households.

“Our results provide compelling evidence that, so far, UK households are paying an economic price for voting to leave the EU.”

Dr Sampson’s research found that the rise in inflation has been lowest for households in London, with Scotland, Wales and especially Northern Ireland being the worst hit.

The report found the greatest price rises have affected product groups which rely heavily on imports, including bread, cereals, milk, tea and coffee, beer and wine, jewellery, and furniture and furnishings.

During the referendum campaign, the CEP was accused by Conservative pro-Brexit MP Bernard Jenkin of producing partisan research designed to convince the public to stay in the EU, something the LSE strenuously denied.

The Food Foundation, meanwhile, has raised concerns that the Government’s target for people to eat “five-a-day” may become unaffordable for millions of Britons.

In a separate report, the foundation claims that in a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario, price rises would mean the poorest 10% of the population could end up spending at least half of their entire budget for food and drink just to meet current Government guidance for fruit and veg.

The report says that of the UK’s 50 favourite fruit and veg, with 16, there is the potential to grow more in the UK.

This could mean consumers are given more protection from the impact of currency fluctuations on prices.

Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation, said: “The Government faces a clear choice to boost British harvests of fruit and veg or the NHS will reap the consequences.”