Heavy Showers

Heavy Showers

max temp: 3°C

min temp: 2°C

Search

DEFRA rejects question on Brexit food prices as it ‘could mislead public’

PUBLISHED: 17:26 26 September 2017

A shopping basket filled with food. Picture: JUPITER IMAGES

A shopping basket filled with food. Picture: JUPITER IMAGES

(C) 2007 Pixland

The UK’s largest union has accused the government of suppressing information on possible changes in food prices as a result of Brexit.

Unite said it made a Freedom of Information (FOI) Act request to the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), asking the department what assessment or estimate has been made of the increase in food prices in the run up to the UK leaving the European Union and the first five years after the UK’s departure.

But DEFRA refused to issue the information as it said it was exempt from the FOI request under section 35 of the act, which relates to the formulation and development in government policy.

“In applying this exemption, we have had to balance the public interest in withholding the information against the public interest in disclosure,” said DEFRA.

“We recognise that there is a public interest in disclosure of information concerning the increase in food prices in the run up to the UK leaving the European Union and the first five years after the UK’s departure.”

However, there was a “strong public interest” in withholding the information, as the UK was formulating its negotiating position with the EU, and needed “a safe space” to formulate policy effectively and to ensure the information it is preparing is timely and accurate, it said.

“DEFRA’s EU Exit policy development work is ongoing. We consider that premature disclosure of information could seriously mislead the public.”

Unite national officer for food, drink and agriculture, Julia Long said: “If the government knows that Brexit is going to affect food prices, then they need to tell the general public and not pretend that there isn’t a problem. “The type of Brexit that the UK chooses will clearly have major implications on the nation’s shopping basket and we need to know what those factors will be.”

National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Meurig Raymond said: “We know the rise in inflation and food inflation will present its own challenges for people at home doing their daily shop.

“But the link between retail prices and farm gate prices tends to be weak and time-lagged and for any commodity, a combination of factors will influence pricing levels such as transport, energy, labour and packaging.”

A man has been fined almost £300 for taking his hands off the wheel to make a two fingered gesture at a speed camera in Suffolk.

With talented well-known stars, unscripted fits of laughter and something for everyone to enjoy - The Regent have pulled off another unforgettable Christmas pantomime.

Beyond the Christmas tree, decorations and pudding, do you have any special customs unique to your family? Here’s a look at some weird and wonderful festive traditions.

Free iCards for Ipswich youngsters last summer cost £100,000 it has emerged, as latest figures have revealed the extent of take up.

Drivers are warned of possible treacherous road conditions this evening as “freezing rain” could turn roads icy.

Within hours of opening a new, exciting gadget on Christmas Day some of us have already broken them.

Ipswich foodbank’s army of volunteers have been hard at work, packing and wrapping thousands of Christmas food parcels for families in need - but founder Maureen Reynel says they need even more help as demand for the service soars.

A vegan activist and mum of three is preparing for her first Christmas as a vegan and explains why she won’t give in to her meat-eating friends.

A Melton mum who was crowned the World’s Strongest Woman and a look at 13 new restaurants and bars in Ipswich is on our don’t miss list. Make sure you catch up with our top stories.

A Suffolk birdwatching group is offering people the chance to have something to crow about – by taking part in a county-wide rook survey.

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Ipswich Star daily newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24