JDW and ALMR to be quizzed over Brexit food and drink inquiry

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

Big challenges: industry experts will be grilled on the impact of Brexit on the food and drink sector
Big challenges: industry experts will be grilled on the impact of Brexit on the food and drink sector

Related tags International trade

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has published evidence submissions from industry insiders and trade bodies for the Brexit and the implications for UK business: processed food and drink inquiry.

The submissions have been published ahead of a public evidence session tomorrow (Wednesday, 13 December) ​when the committee will be questioning guests including Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR); JD Wetherspoon's Tim Martin; Food & Drink Federation director general Ian Wright; and Diageo corporate relations director Dan Mobley. 

As part of its submitted evidence, the ALMR said: "As an organisation that represents the interests of businesses directly affected by the implications of Brexit, we are keen to contribute our thoughts in order to help safeguard the impressive economic contribution of the hospitality industry.

"In total, the broad catering sector sells £86bn of food and drink annually, about 43% of the total spend on food in the UK. If it was assumed that out-of-home eating took an equivalent share of the total food and drink imported, it would imply that nearly £17bn of imported food and drink is sold through the sector. The Food & Drink Federation estimates that 97% of food imports are from EU nations or those that the EU has a free-trade agreement with.

"As a result of this, regulatory, trade and market access issues affecting the food production sector are critical to our members' business operations."

Big challenges post-Brexit

The committee said it is likely to examine the impact of Brexit on processed food and drink, especially regarding tariffs, non-tariff barriers, regulatory divergence, market access and future trading opportunities.

The session may also examine the impact that uncertainty around Brexit and the future trading and customs arrangements are having on businesses and possible contingency plans, it said.  

Rachel Reeves MP, chair of the BEIS committee, said:  "We are looking at the impact of Brexit on the processed food and drink sector, a hugely successful sector in the UK that faces big challenges post-Brexit, with concerns about issues such as tariffs, staffing and market access.  

"The food and drink sector contributes billions to our economy, employing large numbers of people across the UK. 

"The written evidence we've received from processed food and drink manufacturers warns of the dangers of ‘no deal’, of an industry operating under World Trade Organization (WTO) rules with the prospect of increased food and drink prices for British consumers. 

"We will want to explore these issues and examine the potential impact of Brexit in areas such as regulation, labour, and import and export tariffs. We want to explore the Brexit negotiation priorities for our food and drink sector, and press the industry on how we can build on the strengths of current arrangements, both for the benefit of the UK and the EU." 

The committee received written evidence submissions from the following groups: ALMR, British Beer & Pub Association, British Specialist Nutrition Association, Confederation of Paper Industries, Council for Responsible Nutrition UK, Defra, Ferrero UK, Food & Drink Federation, GMB, PAGB, Rich Energy, Tate & Lyle Sugars, Textile Services Association, Unite the Union, Usdaw, Wine and Spirit Trade Association.

  • Watch the committee live and on-demand on Parliament TV​ at 10am on Wednesday, 13 December.​  

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