Food and Drink Federation calls for Brexit safeguards

The Food and Drink Federation has called on the new UK Prime Minister Theresa May to safeguard the interests of Britain’s food and drink manufacturers’ in negotiations to leave the European Union.

In an open letter to the incoming Prime Minister, the FDF has set out its members’ key priorities for the negotiations on the UK’s new relationship with the EU.

Published today (July 13), 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 (pictured) 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.” 

The FDF letter sent to incoming Prime Minister Theresa May comprises:

Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street

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