What does a no deal Brexit mean? Odds of UK leaving EU without trade deal - and potential impact explained

Fishing is among the sticking points in negotiations with supermarket leaders warning of food shortages

Time is running out for the UK and EU to strike a trade deal with fears of a no deal Brexit mounting.

Talks are ongoing but look increasingly futile with both sides reluctant to make concessions with fishing, business standards and governance the key sticking points.

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With the UK economy still reeling from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, there are concerns that a no deal Brexit could compound the economic hardships caused by the virus.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen met for negotiations on Wednesday night (Getty Images)
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen met for negotiations on Wednesday night (Getty Images)

Pressure on Boris Johnson and his conservative is mounting as a result, due to their promise of a smooth, no-nonsense transition out of the EU at the 2019 General Election.

And now experts and industry leaders are warning that a no deal Brexit could lead to food shortages and a shrinking of the economy, while a rise in prices on some goods likely.

What are the odds of a no deal Brexit?

Negotiations are on a knife edge with genuine uncertainty over whether a deal can be struck.

Boris Johnson and president of the European Comission Ursula von der Leyen engaged in crunch talks on Wednesday night and reports suggest that neither side was willing to concede on sticking points, suggesting that a no deal is increasingly likely.

The odds presented by bookmakers represent this uncertainty with William Hill suggesting that there’s a 4/5 chance of no trade deal being signed, compared to 10/11 odds of a deal in fact being signed.

What would a no deal mean?

A no deal would have a profound impact on the way we live and work.

On December 31 2020 the UK will drop out of the European Union’s single market and customs union.

If the UK enters 2021 without a trade deal then tariffs and border checks could be applied on goods travelling in both directions.

Tariffs could see a rise in the price of UK goods while also making them more difficult to sell in the EU.

A no deal could also result in the UK service industry missing out on access to the European market.

No deal could also see issues arise relating to a multitude of issues such as immigration and security.

Impact on food and drink prices

Business leaders warned of the impact of leaving the EU without a trade deal on sectors ranging from automotive to food and drink, one warning that the UK was entering “dangerous territory”.

Speaking in October Ian Wright, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “In the event of a no-deal Brexit, shoppers will, literally, pay a heavy price.

“Imported food and drink from the EU will face eye-watering tariffs averaging 18% kick starting price rises.

“At the same time border delays and disruption will bring further costs which will not be subsumed by industry.

Tesco chairman John Allan warned that import taxes could push the price of brie cheese up by 40% and may mean British shoppers opt for cheddar instead.

Mr Allan also warned food bills could climb by 5% on average in the event of a no-deal scenario, with specific products likely to increase significantly more.

What happens to negotiations if there is no deal?

Though the UK would leave the European Union without a deal in January, that doesn’t mean that a deal couldn’t be met in the future.

Some have suggested that the chaos caused by a no deal Brexit could cause both sides to reconsider their priorities and thrash out a trade deal.

It’s unclear how long it could take for such a deal to be struck, however, with some suggesting it could be several months into 2021.