Policies for the new Government to deliver a thriving food and drink industry

Secure the best possible Brexit for food and drink, including a transition phase to avoid any "cliff edge".

Food and farming is the sector most impacted by Brexit. Whether it is access to future workforce, the shape of the regulatory regime, our trading relationships, or the all-Ireland agri-food supply chain, the long-term future for UK food and drink is dependent on the deal the next Government secures.

Currency fluctuation has already squeezed many producers, with over 90 per cent of FDF members reporting price rises for essential ingredients and raw materials in our recent survey. As essential partners to the UK's farmers, primary producers and fishing industry, we are also reliant on a stable and sustainable domestic supply base.

We are a resilient and resourceful sector. Despite the challenges, we are ready to seize new opportunities in exports, domestic sourcing and greater innovation. However, the risk of a disruptive “cliff edge” concerns UK food and drink producers greatly. If the UK were to fall back on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for trading with the EU, then we would expect UK food and drink exports and imports to face notably high tariffs.

Based on work the FDF has undertaken with its members since the 23 June 2016 referendum, we call on the next Government to achieve the following:

  • Transitional arrangements which help our sector to negotiate any change and uncertainty around access to workforce, trade and regulation at a reasonable pace, without risking the current success and long-term investment in the sector.
  • Immediate action to guarantee the right to remain for valued EU citizens, and in the medium term, access to the skills and talent we need to address our sector's skills gap.
  • Agreement that the future trading arrangements can be discussed hand-in-hand with the UK's exit from the EU. As the largest market for exports and vital imports, we need to secure a special deal with the Republic of Ireland, a bold and ambitious Free Trade Agreement with the EU, and continued frictionless trade across borders via a new customs agreement.
  • A stable regulatory framework through the Great Repeal Bill and other legislation. Maintaining consumer confidence in the safety and authenticity of UK food and drink is paramount. We must protect the UK's reputation for high quality products, while where possible, boosting the competitiveness of our sector. It will be vital to minimise regulatory fragmentation across the nations of the UK, and ensure Government has the right mechanisms to ensure mutual recognition for seamless trade.

Next page: Work in partnership with industry to tackle obesity through an holistic, evidence-based approach, with calorie reduction at its heart.


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Last reviewed: 08 Aug 2017