Election 2015

Food industry ‘better’ with Conservatives: expert

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food and drink would ‘prefer’ a Conservative government – expert

Related tags: United kingdom, Labour party

Food and drink manufacturers would be disadvantaged by a Labour coalition with the Scottish National Party (SNP) and would instead prefer another Conservative government, according to a leading analyst.

Despite Labour pledging to protect producers by expanding the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator in its manifesto last month, businesses were less trusting of the party, Julian Wild, head of the food team at Rollits solicitors, told FoodManufacture.co.uk.

“It’s not my opinion and it’s not just food and drink businesses saying this. Businesses tend to be pro-Conservatives because there is a view that the Conservatives have managed the economy better than the Labour party had ​[in the past] or will.”

One clear winner

Like many analysts, Wild believed there wouldn’t be one clear winner from the general election and, if it came to power, Labour would go into a coalition with the SNP. However, Labour leader Ed Milliband had rejected this idea.

Such a partnership would be “calamitous”​, prime minister David Cameron said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr ​show yesterday (April 19), as the SNP did not want the UK to succeed.

“Frankly, this is a group of people that would not care what happened in the rest of the country,” ​Cameron said.

“The rest of the UK – Wales, Northern Ireland and England – would not get a look-in and that is the prospect we face if we don’t get the majority Conservative government that’s within our reach.”

Other commentators believed, if Labour won and went into a coalition with the SNP, party leader Nicola Sturgeon would “wear the trousers”.

‘Concerning for business’

Wild added: “I think a Labour/SNP coalition looks to be the most probable outcome of the general election, and that’s going to be concerning for ​[English, Welsh and Northern Irish] businesses.”

However, Cameron’s pledged to let the public decide on an EU referendum had caused concern​ among food and drink manufacturers.

Terry Scuoler, the boss of the manufacturers’ organisation EEF, said: “Maintaining the UK’s role at the heart of a reformed EU is absolutely critical for our prosperity and businesses will want reassurance that any future Conservative government will campaign strongly on this basis.”

Growth in UK food and drink relied on a good relationship with the EU and being a member was vital for its growth, Scuoler added.

A Labour spokesman told FoodManufacture.co.uk: "Labour will return Britain to a leadership role in a reformed European Union and protect jobs and investment by staying in the EU.

"Labour will reduced unnecessary regulation by asking our new Small Business Administration to coordinate work across government to benefit smaller businesses and cut unnecessary regulation."

Meanwhile, the SNP set out an “alternative to austerity”​ in its manifesto, which was published today.

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5 comments

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Poor piece

Posted by Poolebhoy,

I'm afraid this is just a party political broadcast by the Conservative party.

Sort on facts, no evidence to support the headline, which is based on the assumption that there'll be a Lab/SNP coalition and the further assumption that the SNP will fail the food industry.

It's my understanding that Scotland have a strong food and drinks manufacturing base, which has been convieniently missed.

3/10 must do better otherwise the food manutacturer mag will lose credibility.

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Conservatives best for the Food Industry

Posted by Nick Webb,

The UK economy, UK Food Businesses and all the people working in the Food industry will thrive under a majority Conservative government as the conservatives know and have an excellent track record of running the economy. If Labour and the SNP take over we will all be heading straight back to bankruptcy.

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Rubbish

Posted by David Roberts,

Just goes to show how little real economics 'business analysts' really understand. This is just political prejudice wrapped up as informed opinion!

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