PARTY leaders have been warned against “conveniently ignoring” the impact of Brexit on the cost-of-living crisis by the SNP’s Westminster leader ahead of this week’s local elections.

In a letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Labour leader Keir Starmer and LibDem leader Ed Davey, Ian Blackford MP cited recent evidence gathered by UK in a Changing Europe suggesting that food prices rose by 6% between the end of 2019 and September 2021 as a direct consequence of what Blackford described as “the extreme Brexit chosen, imposed and pushed through by the UK Government.”

Blackford also highlighted additional analysis published this week by the LSE Centre for Economic Performance, which found that the “total variety of goods sold by the UK to the EU has declined 30% since Brexit”, arguing that this constituted “grim confirmation” of a prior forecast from the Office for Budget Responsibility from October, warning that the economic impact of Brexit could be worse with Covid.

Blackford commented: “The Tory-made cost-of-living crisis is the most immediate pressure and priority facing households across Scotland and the UK. The reality so far is that the UK government has failed to properly lift a finger to protect households.

"If we are to effectively tackle every layer of this emergency, it is vital that we face all the driving factors behind these soaring costs. 

“We all know that the economic consequences of emerging from the worst of the pandemic, combined with the impact of Putin’s war in Ukraine, have resulted in increasing wholesale energy costs which have translated into climbing costs across the board. However, they are not the only factors in play piling on the hardship for families.

"Time and time again, analysis has shown that Brexit, imposed by the Tory government upon Scotland against our will and backed by Labour, has been an unmitigated disaster - with Brexit leading to rising food prices and a hit to people's pockets. People across Scotland and the UK are being forced to pay a heavy price for it at the worst possible time.”

He added: "With party leaders ramping up their local election campaigning, and ahead of the Queen's Speech, they cannot conveniently ignore the impact Brexit is having on the cost-of-living crisis and they must not shamefully dodge their responsibility. If we are serious about tackling this cost-of-living emergency, we also need to be serious about tackling the clear costs of Brexit."