Article 50 trigger date prompts calls to ‘protect pubs’

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Article 50: Industry groups raise concerns about beer exports and the rights of EU hospitably workers
Article 50: Industry groups raise concerns about beer exports and the rights of EU hospitably workers

Related tags: Executive brigid simmonds, London, Uk

Concerns about the future of beer exports and the rights of EU nationals working in pubs have been restated by industry groups after the Prime Minister announced she would trigger Article 50 on Wednesday 29 March.

With the start date for Brexit negotiations confirmed by Theresa May, the BBPA and ALMR both urged the Government to recognise the value of the sector and protect pubs during this period of negotiation.

The Government has not confirmed whether staff from the EU will be able to stay in the UK after Brexit, leaving many pub employers and employees in limbo​. MPs rejected the opportunity to clarify its position when they voted down amendments that would have guaranteed UK residency for EU nationals on 13 March.

BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “I would urge the Government to look at the value of the UK’s food and drink sector to the British economy and ensure that, as we leave the EU, our sector is protected.

“Beer is the UK’s third-biggest food and drink export, worth more than £550m to the UK economy. It has been reassuring to hear that Britain will look to ensure that those already working in the UK have the right to remain here. “More than 20% of workers in our pubs are not UK nationals, and it’s important to note that in metropolitan areas, particularly London and the south-east, this figure will be much higher. It is vital that these workers’ rights are protected, which will provide much welcome stability both to them personally, and to our sector.”

Employee security

Research by the ALMR has shown than almost a quarter of the total hospitality and tourism workforce is comprised of non-UK workers, a figure that rises to nearly 40% for eating and drinking-out businesses, with almost half of those coming from the EU.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “With Article 50 being triggered, the chief focus for pubs and restaurants remains ensuring that employers have access to potential employees and current employees are safe in their roles.

“Workers from the EU make a huge contribution to the licensed hospitality sector, so it is hugely important that these roles are safeguarded.

“Pubs and restaurants should remember that, following the trigger, there will still be a period of two years in which the Government will iron out the details of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU and that nothing will change overnight.

“This will be a new challenge for the UK and UK businesses in particular, but the ALMR will be liaising closely with the Government to ensure that the concerns of the sector are a top priority.”

Related topics: Legislation

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