Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Questions (14)

Joe O'Brien

Question:

14. Deputy Joe O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his Department has a role in monitoring retail food prices; and if so, if any discernible increase has been measured due to Brexit. [2466/21]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

A number of Government Departments and statutory bodies have a role or interest in monitoring the impact of Brexit on retail prices. These include the Department of Finance, the Central Statistics Office, and the Central Bank of Ireland.

In terms of my Department, the Economic the Social Research Institute undertook research at the request of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) in 2018 on the impact of Brexit on consumers in Ireland to help inform a wider understanding of the potential impact of Brexit and assist in ensuring Ireland’s preparations. The study found that there was likely to be an increase in the cost of living depending on the scenario that would apply after the Brexit process had concluded.

The CSO's most recent data for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for December 2020 was published on 14 January last and contains detailed information about changes in the average prices of food & non-alcoholic beverages. Prices on average for food & non-alcoholic beverages fell by 0.1% in the month to December 2020 with food prices rising 0.1% and prices for non-alcoholic beverages falling by 1.6%. Over the previous 12-months, the price of food & non-alcoholic beverages fell by 1.6% with food prices falling by 1.1% and non-alcoholic beverages prices falling by 4.4%. The CPI statistics for food and non-alcoholic beverages for January 2021 will be published on 18 February next.

Clearly, it is too early to tell how Brexit is affecting retail food prices. It is likely that there will be some changes in pricing by retailers arising from disruptions caused by Brexit and as supply chains are re-configured to deal with Brexit realities. My Department is in regular contact with retailers to identify if there are any vulnerabilities apparent in their supply chains. This engagement will continue and challenges to supply logistics are actively monitored by my officials.