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  1. Media Law
March 26, 2018

The Sun made ‘honest mistake’ over inaccurate Brexit tariff calculations which received four IPSO complaints

By Charlotte Tobitt

The Sun has admitted it got the calculations wrong over an article which calculated the potential savings British shoppers could see once European Union tariffs are removed after Brexit.

Four people complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation under Clause 1 (accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice about the article, which was published in print and online on 27 February this year.

The original headline read: “Here’s some of the high street savings we can make after Brexit if Jeremy Corbyn doesn’t become PM,” with the article claiming: “High Street prices are set to tumble after Brexit…”.

The article carried a “vote for bargains” infographic which accompanied the article, showing the supposed savings that would be seen on items such as butter and Nike Air trainers after the UK leaves the EU next year.

Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg was among those to share the infographic on Twitter. He wrote: “Thanks to the Sun for calculating the huge savings for us all outside the Customs Union, except for the one on cigarettes which no Government would pass on.”

However, it was pointed out to The Sun that the calculations were based on retail prices, when tariffs are actually applied when goods arrive in the UK.

A Sun spokesperson told Press Gazette: “We made an honest mistake and we’re happy to correct the record.”

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A clarification was published this morning after the IPSO complaint was resolved in the referral stage, in which the newspaper and complainants are given the opportunity to resolve the issue directly.

The article was removed within a day of being published online.

The Sun’s clarification explained the various mistakes it made in the calculations.

It said: “For example, we said that savings on Nike Air Trainers would be £20.40, but savings would actually be closer to £7.50.

“There were also mistakes in the calculations for individual items.

“For example, saving on a £2 pack of butter was given as £1, but the tariff is about 42p per pack.

“Savings on an LG flatscreen TV was given as £44, but there’s an EU free trade agreement with South Korea, so there is no tariff.

“Leaving the Customs Union would not necessarily directly result in any savings on cigarettes and not £4.54 as stated.

“Savings on cherry tomatoes was given as 21p, but almost all EU imports of tomatoes come from Morocco, which has a preferential arrangement with the EU.

“The tariff on mozzarella is €1.85/kg, so the saving on a 125g packet would be about 20p, not 69p.”

The article also claimed the UK pays trade charges on more than 13,000 items from outside the EU. The clarification said: “In fact, for many of these goods, no tariffs or charges are payable.”

Picture: Reuters/Toby Melville 

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