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Logistics UK has claimed a no-deal Brexit could have a significant effect on the price of imported goods and make the cost of transporting them unaffordable to UK operators.

In a letter to the Sunday Times published on 25 October, chief executive David Wells said: “Everyday household items we import will become more expensive under World Trade Organisation tariffs, some by 30% or more. This will make the household shopping basket much more expensive, particularly in the early part of 2021 when we rely on imports for much of our fresh food.

“The actual cost of moving goods will also increase,” he continued, “if new vehicles, parts and tyres are also subject to tariffs. This is more than ‘turbulence’, as suggested by Mr Gove last week, and logistics businesses, operating on 2% margins, cannot afford to take on these costs.”

Wells said another concern for operators would be obtaining access to the EU market if Brexit talks remain unresolved. Without a deal, he fears operators will be restricted by the number of lorry access permits available to enter the EU: “The permit quota available to UK operators will fall short by a factor of four, putting businesses at risk right across the country," he explained. "We are urging government to keep pressing for a deal with Brussels to protect not only our industry but the economy as a whole.”