FDF sends new PM a food industry wish list

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

The new PM's in tray already includes a letter from the FDF
The new PM's in tray already includes a letter from the FDF

Related tags: Drink manufacturing, Industry, Eu

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has added to the Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May’s in tray with a four-point wish list to maintain the competitiveness of UK food and drink manufacturing.

After congratulating the PM in waiting on her appointment yesterday (July 13) and introducing the industry, the open letter from FDF director general Ian Wright described the decision to quit the EU as “a major setback” ​for FDF members.

But the sector was now focused on “transforming potential risks into real opportunities”,​ he wrote. Read the letter in full in the box below.

Four-key points

To ensure that the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector remained “a success story of which we are all proud”, ​Wright highlighted four-key points, drawn from the FDF industry manifesto published today.

Those were: reassurance for the nearly 100,000 EU nationals working in the UK food and drink manufacturing; continued market access to consumers and vital ingredients across the EU 27 nations; a roadmap setting out how the exit process and rapid action to address economic and currency volatility; and a commitment to avoid introducing planned burdens on business.

FDF’s wish list

  1. Reassurance for 100,000 EU nationals working in UK food and drink manufacturing
  2. Continued market access to consumers and ingredients across the EU 27 nations
  3. Roadmap setting out how the exit process
  4. Action to address economic and currency volatility and a commitment to avoid ‘planned burdens’ on business

Topping the FDF’s wish list was urgent reassurance for the EU nationals working in the UK food and drink manufacturing sector and their employers. The FDF wanted to see continued unhindered access to workers – at all skill levels – from the EU 27 nations.

Second, was maintaining market access to consumers and vital ingredients across the EU. That included keeping in place advantageous trading arrangements that the EU had negotiated with third countries.

Third, was a clear roadmap setting out how the exit process would be managed to ensure an appropriate regulatory framework. That framework should ensure the continued confidence of consumers and industry.

‘Planned burdens’

Fourth, was urgent action to address economic and currency volatility and a firm commitment to avoid introducing “planned burdens” ​on business, wrote Wright.

Those burdens included the proposed Apprenticeship Levy and soft drinks tax, which must be “placed on pause”​ while uncertainty persisted.

Meanwhile, read the FDF manifesto – which aimed to set out the priorities for food manufacturing sector in Brexit planning – in full here​.

 

IanWrightHQ
FDF boss Ian Wright wrote an open letter to Theresa May setting out the industy's wish list

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% of our members responding to a survey sent earlier this year said that they supported remaining within the EU. 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

FDF director general

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1 comment

Food Industry ignored in Gov’t Skills Plan

Posted by Terry Fennell,

Let's hope the new PM and her new Skills Minister will recognise the Food and Drink industry in the Skills Plan, last week's publication failed to even acknowledge F&D as one of the 15 routes for technical education, clearly lots of work to do going forward.

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