BBPA calls for robust transitional arrangements as Brexit talks begin

By Fred A'Court

- Last updated on GMT

Brexit talks begin: BBPA calls for focus on robust transitional arrangements
Brexit talks begin: BBPA calls for focus on robust transitional arrangements

Related tags: European union

As Brexit talks began this week, The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) has set out its stance on what are expected to be two years of complicated and difficult negotiations between the UK and the rest of the EU.

Robust transitional arrangements are needed in preparation for the UK’s departure from the European Union with an emphasis on putting the economy first and the need for ‘frictionless’ customs arrangements, it said.

The stance supports the approaches outlined by the CBI, other leading industry groups and Chancellor Phillip Hammond at his delayed Mansion House speech on Tuesday (20 June).

Commenting on the start of the talks in Brussels BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said that as well as wanting trade conducted as freely as possible, access to skills for the brewing and pub sector should also be secured. 

She said: “Until there is a final settlement on our exit from the EU, the benefits of the single market and customs union should be maintained, and we also want to see the maintenance of an open border in Ireland.

“We want to see that the rights of our existing employees are swiftly safeguarded in the early phase of the negotiations, providing all our staff with much needed reassurance. At the same time, we want to play our part in attracting more UK citizens to work in our sector in the future.”

Half a dozen Brexit settlement goals outlined by the CBI on Monday (19 June) - including tariff-free goods trading, minimal customs formalities at borders, and flexible labour movement - are supported by the BBPA.

Other final settlement hopes include on-going UK participation in a range of pan-European programmes to boost economic value, protection of the benefits of free trade agreements, and regulations and standards that ensure mutual access for goods and services

Simmonds said the BBPA would be urging the Government to make the most of opportunities in the pubs sector, not least when it comes to taxation, as Brexit talks continued. “The UK will need a more competitive beer duty regime that supports exports, changes that promote the consumption of lower-strength drinks and support pubs, and reduced VAT on pub meals. This will allow us to create jobs and invest.”

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