Fianna Fáil’s Enterprise Spokesperson, Niall Collins TD has said that the news that a conflict has arisen between Irish food retailers and Unilever based in the UK over pricing is a sure sign of the pressure the Brexit decision is putting on Irish business.
“The fact that Unilever are attempting to raise prices on everyday goods by between 10 and 19% within four months of the decision of the British people to vote to exit the European Union should raise alarm bells with Minister Mitchell O’Connor, and her officials in the Department of Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation,” said Collins.
“Attempts at price hikes like this by UK suppliers pose grave risks for Irish businesses. The drop in the value of sterling has already placed Irish exporters at risk, and now we are seeing UK companies get jittery with regard to price setting.”
“Irish and European consumers are going to be hurt by the UK decision to leave the EU. This commercial row between retailers in Ireland, and suppliers in the UK, is another piece of direct evidence of the negative implications of Brexit,” said Collins.
“There are issues at play here that require the Minister to get her act together, and pull together all Government Departments and prepare an action plan to support Irish businesses that are deeply worried and concerned about the impact of Brexit on their futures.”
“Minister Mitchell O’Connor must also raise this issue with her European counterparts to ensure that there is a joint response to ensure that consumers are safeguarded, and aren’t forced to pay increased prices, and that removal of products from supermarket shelves doesn’t occur,” added Collins.
“Across the entire economy, Irish businesses need predictability, and stability. The Euro’s rapid rise in value against sterling recently is reflective of the growing uncertainty in the economy.”
“The time for a wait and see approach has long since gone. We need an urgent cross-departmental policy response. Minister Mitchell O’Connor, as the lead minister with responsibility for Trade Policy must step up to the mark, and show the Irish business community that she has a plan,” concluded Collins.