Marmite price row a sign of things to come if UK leaves Single Market

Love it or hate it, Marmite hitting the headlines is a first sign of reality starting to bite after the Brexit vote, writes Paul Brannen MEP, Labour’s European Parliament spokesperson on agriculture.

As the pound decreases in value on a daily basis the cost of imports to the UK increases.

Take almost any processed food product off the supermarket shelves and you hold a mini example of the global supply chain in your hand. While UK ingredients haven’t increased in price, imports have and with nearly half of our food being imported we, as a country, are in no position to simply ‘Buy British’ as a way of stopping our supermarket shopping costing more.

As a net importer of food the UK isn’t in a position in the short term to simply sell more food abroad to offset increased import costs, which is why customers will be looking at increased food bills in the next few months.

Indeed, the National Farmers Union warned in the run up to the referendum that a Leave vote would in all likelihood put up food prices in the UK, and while it’s too late to change the referendum outcome it’s not to late to make sure we make the right decision about what Brexit actually means, including whether we remain inside the Single Market.

It’s clearly turning chilly as we prepare to leave the EU but it is likely to be much colder still outside the Single Market – so let’s wise up before it really is too late.

Theresa May told the Tory Party conference: “If you believe you’re a citizen of the world, you’re a citizen of nowhere.”

She should have said:

‘No man is an island,

Entire of itself,

Every man is a piece of the continent,

A part of the main.’

This was true when John Donne penned it in 1624, it remains true today, hence Ms May and the hardline Brexiters need to stop talking up a hard Brexit, with its macho ‘we’re going it alone’ rhetoric, as it simply talks down the pound.

We don’t have the option to stop trading. We don’t want to stop trading. We’re a trading nation, we have built our wealth and our character by trading. Outside of the EU we need the most favourable trading relationships we can get with as many countries as possible. This must start with the EU because they are our biggest trading partner.

It’s really not rocket science: inside the Single Market reasonable prices; outside the Single Market increased prices.