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Publication - Professor Willy Aspinall

    Anticipated impacts of Brexit scenarios on UK food prices using structured expert judgement

    implications for policies on poverty and health


    Barons, MJ & Aspinall, W, 2019, ‘Anticipated impacts of Brexit scenarios on UK food prices using structured expert judgement: implications for policies on poverty and health’. arXiv.


    Introduction: Food insecurity has been associated with increased risk for several health conditions and poor management of chronic disease. Key determinants for household food insecurity are income and food costs. Whereas short-term household incomes are likely to remain static, increased food prices would be a significant driver of food insecurity. Design: Structured expert judgement elicitation, a well-established method for quantifying uncertainty, using experts. Each expert estimated the median, 5% and 95% quantiles of changes in ten food categories under Brexit deal and no-deal scenarios. These were aggregated based on the accuracy and informativeness of the experts on calibration questions. Results Expected changes in food costs varied between categories. When combined in proportions used to calculate CPI, median food price changes for Brexit with a deal are expected to be +6.1% [90% credible interval:-3%, +17%] and with no deal +22.5% [+1%, +52%]. Conclusions: The number of households experiencing food insecurity and the severity of food insecurity is likely to increase since the median food cost increases expected after Brexit are significant. The increasing burden on healthcare services is likely to increase sharply. Moreover, the uncertainty in food costs is skewed, making higher increases more likely than lower rises. The plausible worst case would entail severe impacts. The demand for health services in both the short and longer term is likely to increase due to the effects of food insecurity on disease incidence, management of chronic conditions, amplifying the involvement of physicians in referral to emergency food relief.

    Full details in the University publications repository