Food prices will decrease dramatically when the UK leaves the EU, according to high-profile economist Roger Bootle.

Bootle, chief executive of Capital Economics, said he expects the UK to come out of the common agriculture policy and drop the European common tariff when it leaves the EU.

“The result of that will be much lower food prices,” he told delegates at Retail Week Live.

Bootle said he expected a slowdown over the next six months, with real incomes squeezed, but predicted that Brexit – what he termed “the great escape” – would be positive for UK consumers and businesses in the long term.

“This is the great escape, we’re going to do extremely well,” he said.

“The single market and the importance of tariffs are greatly overdone.

“If it’s so important, how come Greece and Italy aren’t doing spectacularly well? Why aren’t they carried forward on a wave of prosperity?

“The EU is a disaster, in every respect, including at doing trade deals.

”Why? It’s got 28 countries that have to agree,” he said.

He also urged retailers to push ahead with investment plans in the run-up to Brexit.

Budget expectations and interest rates

In terms of the Budget, which is unveiled later today, Bootle expects the focus to be on reducing borrowing.

“If anyone is expecting a handout, I wouldn’t hold their breath. It’s going to be dull.

“Any room to manoeuvre will be used to reduce borrowing,” he said.

Bootle also warned that interest rates would rise “sooner, further and faster” than current expectations.