Unite: WTO terms disastrous for ordinary working people

The implications of a cliff edge, no deal Brexit for ordinary people are becoming increasingly stark, Unite has warned.

New research predicts that families will be at least £500 a week poorer if the UK reverts to World Trade Organisation tariffs, with food prices soaring by up to eight per cent.

The Resolution Foundation study found that the price of dairy goods prices would rise on average by 8.1 per cent and meat prices by 5.8 per cent. Transport vehicles will cost 5.5 per cent more and clothing 2.4 per cent should Britain crash out of the EU without a trade deal.

Len McCluskey, Unite general secretary, said the findings confirmed the importance of the consequences of the way the government is handling the Brexit negotiations being made clear.

They come as inflation rose to a five year high of three per cent, with the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, telling the Treasury select committee that real incomes would be lower as a result.

Len McCluskey said: “Unite has long warned that reverting to WTO terms of trade would be a disastrous option and that our members, ordinary working people, will be forced to pay for the cost of tariffs. This research confirms the cost of living crisis that will be triggered by those tariffs.

“We are already seeing jobs being lost as a result of the uncertainty over the Brexit talks, which is causing firms to delay investment decisions, while opportunistic producers and retailers are using the weakness of the pound as an excuse to raise prices on everyday household items. Many Unite members voted for Britain to leave the EU, but they did not vote to be poorer or have their jobs put at risk.

“This is why we back demands that Brexit secretary David Davis publishes the 50 government commissioned studies on the impact of leaving the EU. It is clear that ministers are sitting on these impact assessments because their findings confirm the disastrous effects of a hard Brexit on all sectors of the economy.  Ordinary people have the right to know what this means for them.”