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Scottish National Party (SNP) Consumer Affairs Spokesperson Patricia Gibson MP has said the UK Tory Government's reckless Brexit plans will deliver a devastating double blow to already struggling households, after the British Retail Consortium (BRC) issued a stark warning that No-Deal will pile pressure on consumers through price rises of basic household goods and food items.

Andrew Opie, Director of Food and Sustainability at the BRC, stated that No-Deal "will see higher prices in supermarkets...squeezing millions of families already impacted by the current economic downturn. This is not the fair deal that consumers were promised." He added “Many UK shoppers experienced disruption in the run up to lockdown; without a deal, the public may face an even bigger challenge at the end of the Transition period."

With the coronavirus pandemic already impacting countless households through loss in income or job losses, Mrs Gibson has ramped up calls on the UK Government to accept the Brexit extension on offer and focus on investing in the economy to ensure a strong recovery.

Businesses are also feeling the hit of the pandemic after a number of major companies, including Boots, Burger King, John Lewis and Rolls-Royce, announced that around they would be shedding thousands of jobs. Confederation of British Industry Director General, Dame Carolyn Fairbairn id predicting “A further 3.5% contraction in the UK economy next year following the end of the Brexit Transition.”

Commenting, Mrs Gibson said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has already hit countless households and pushed many families and individuals into financial hardship through a loss in income or job losses. It would be an act of extreme recklessness if a catastrophic Tory Brexit was piled on top.

“The UK is already in the midst of its worst crisis in decades and the UK government must take steps to alleviate the financial burdens facing people by investing in the economy and jobs to ensure a strong recovery, not delivering a devastating double hit through its hard Brexit obsession in just a matter of months.

"Retailers and businesses across the UK are struggling to stay afloat during these unprecedented and challenging times, with major companies already warning of thousands of job losses. Crashing out of the EU without a deal will only lead to soaring unemployment and households struggling to afford basic items and produce.

"It's high time the Tories put their responsibility to the economy, jobs and families struggling during this period ahead of its damaging Brexit agenda. It must accept an extension to the transition period."

Scottish Government analysis has revealed ending the transition period in 2020 could remove £3 billion from the Scottish economy in just two years - on top of the impact of coronavirus.

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