Sainsbury’s former CEO Justin King has claimed that rising inflation and soaring food prices “started with Brexit” in an interview on Sky News.
“I mean the current pressures started with Brexit. You’re talking about the prime minister going to Northern Ireland today, the problems at the border in the Irish Sea, of course, are the reality in good part in the border with many of our trading partners,” King said.
The former Big 4 grocer’s boss of the explained that external factors such as the pandemic and the war in Ukraine have also worsened the situation – but are not the sole reasons for severity of rising costs.
King added: “Well in excess of 40 per cent of our food comes from Europe, so it started with Brexit, Covid exacerbated the problems and of course the war in Ukraine and the particular impact it is having on certain commodities… will be long lasting and significant.”
The comments directly oppose ones made by Brexit minister Jacob Rees-Mogg in April, who said the global inflation in food prices “has nothing to do with Brexit”.
The warning comes as food CPI has reached 5.9%, the highest since December 2011. According to the latest reports from the Office of National Statistics, CPI inflation has increased to 9% in the year to April – which is estimated to be the highest measured rate since 1982.