Published in the wake of last week's Chequers agreement, which led to the resignation of Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, the White Paper outlines the sort of relationship the UK wants with the European Union after Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May stated that the 104-page document, which is aimed at ensuring trade co-operation with the European Union and global trade deals for the UK, “delivers on the Brexit people voted for”, while new Brexit secretary Dominic Raab said the White Paper outlined a "principled, pragmatic and ambitious future partnership between the UK and the EU".
Critics of the White Paper, which revolves around a facilitated customs arrangement, have said that it represents a bad deal for Britain, with Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg calling it "a pale imitation" of the paper prepared by former Brexit Secretary David Davis.
Split into four chapters – economic partnership, security, co-operation and institutional arrangements – key points for the hospitality industry include: the Government’s intention to maintain current systems for excise and VAT practices; the maintenance of the geographic indicators system ensuring legal protection enjoyed by British goods, including regionally produced ales; and the proposed extension of the Youth Mobility Scheme – as supported by the BBPA.
The scheme spanning the UK and many Commonwealth countries, which the BBPA has campaigned to see extended to the whole of the EU, currently allows young people up to the age of 30 to work in the UK for two years without counting towards migration numbers.
Discussing the White Paper, BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “It is encouraging that the Brexit White Paper echoes some of the issues that we have been highlighting since the referendum.
“However, it’s still vital that the Government continues to work with us and the industry at every opportunity, so it understands what we need for a future outside of the EU.
“These proposals mark a positive step, but there remains much work to be done.”
Additionally, UKH has welcomed the Government’s recognition of the food and drinks industry in the White Paper.
UKH chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “We are pleased the Government has recognised the value of the food and drink sector. We are also pleased that there appears to be no major deviation from previously stated positions, particularly the ability of EU citizens to be able to work in the UK.
“It is vitally important that there is no friction in trade with the EU, and that goods – food specifically – is able to be traded to suit the Just In Time (JIT) method that many hospitality businesses will need. It’s reassuring to see the Government acknowledging the need for such smooth UK-EU trade.
“UKHospitality will continue to be in near-constant dialogue with the Government to promote the interests of the hospitality sector and ensure that businesses are not disadvantaged by Brexit. We also await the forthcoming report by the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) and will be liaising with MAC to ensure that the sector has access to the talent it needs.”
The White Paper is available to read in full here.