More than 12,500 small retail businesses will be at “high risk” of going bust should the UK government fail to reach a Brexit deal, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has stated.

In a letter addressed to prime minister Theresa May and European Union chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Richard Pennycook, chairman of the BRC, said: “It is likely we will see food rotting at ports, reducing the choice and quality of what is available to consumers. Frictionless trade is essential if the industry is to continue to provide value.”

BRC analysis also found that food and drink products would face an average increase in the cost of importing from the EU of up to 29%, from non-tariff barriers under a no-deal scenario.

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