News article

13 July 2016

UK food & drink calls on new PM to safeguard UK competitiveness

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In an open letter to the incoming Prime Minister, the Food and Drink Federation
(FDF) today set out food and drink manufacturers’ key priorities for the
negotiations on the UK’s new relationship with the European Union.

Published today, FDF’s manifesto ‘A New UK-EU Relationship – Priorities for the Food and Drink Manufacturing
Industry
‘ identifies the key short and longer-term actions that the largest
manufacturing sector – food and drink –requires if it is to remain competitive
and
successful.

On the publication of FDF’s manifesto FDF Director General Ian Wright CBE said:

“Britain’s food and drink manufacturers are responsible for feeding millions
each day. A healthy and secure food and drink industry is critical to our
national community and economy. Today we set out priority actions for the new
Government to help bring much needed stability and confidence back to the
sector and
wider UK economy. Our partnership with UK Government has never been more
important
to keeping food prices stable, protecting UK competitiveness and securing a
skilled workforce for the future.”

FDF letter sent to incoming Prime Minister Rt Hon Theresa May MP:

Rt Hon Theresa May MP

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London

SW1A 2AA

13 July 2016

Dear Prime Minister,

On behalf of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and our members,
congratulations on your appointment. As you have said, this is a testing time
for the nation
and there is much that must be done.

FDF represents the UK food and drink manufacturing industry. It is the UK’s
largest manufacturing sector contributing more than £21bn per annum in gross
value
added and employing 400,000 people. In recent years, food and drink
manufacturing
has been both an exporting and a productivity success story.

Over 70 per cent of our members responding to a survey sent earlier this year
said that they supported remaining within the European Union. The decision to
leave is a major setback for our members. However, we are a resilient and
resourceful industry and we are now focused on transforming potential risks
into real
opportunities. With the support of you and your Government, we are confident
that UK
food and drink can continue to be a success story of which we are all proud.

We have today published our manifesto for food and drink manufacturing. This
sets out the key priorities for our industry that we believe must be secured as
part of the negotiations on the UK’s new relationship with the EU. I attach a
copy
for your attention.

If we are to remain competitive, we need:

  • Urgent reassurance for the nearly 100,000 EU nationals working in the UK food
    and drink manufacturing sector and continuing unhindered access to workers – at
    all skill levels – from the EU 27 nations.
  • Continued market access to consumers and vital ingredients across the EU 27
    nations and to the advantageous trading arrangements that the EU has negotiated
    with third countries.
  • A clear roadmap setting out how the exit process will be managed to ensure an
    appropriate regulatory framework that ensures the continued confidence of
    consumers and industry.
  • Urgent action to address economic and currency volatility and a firm commitment
    to avoid introducing planned burdens on business: the proposed Apprenticeship
    Levy and Soft Drinks Levy must be placed on pause while uncertainty persists.

More details are contained within the manifesto itself. We look forward to
discussing your Government’s ambition for the food and drink sector, a Great
British
success story, with you and your new team.

Ian Wright CBE

Director General

More information

Contact Anna Taylor, Corporate Affairs Division, at: [email protected], or 0207 420 7118.

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