Industry leaders have responded to the topic of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, which was a major feature in the Queen's speech.
Helen Dickinson OBE, chief executive of the BRC said, “Businesses now know when the UK will leave the EU and will welcome the certainty that the transition period will provide after January 31st.
"We are encouraged that both the UK and EU have indicated they want an ambitious and comprehensive free trade deal. It is key that the future relationship secures tariff-free and low-friction trade, reaching agreements on a range of regulatory and customs arrangements to ensure a fair deal for consumers by keeping costs down and maintaining choice and availability. We will continue to work in partnership with Government.”
The FDF’s chief executive, Ian Wright CBE, also commented, “There can be no more important priority in our negotiations with the EU than to secure the future of the UK’s food and farming industry and safeguard UK food security and consumer confidence. Near EU markets are critical to UK producers. That is true for both for supplies of essential raw materials and exports of iconic value-added British products.”
Helen Dickinson responded; “We welcome the continued commitment to a fundamental review of the business rates system and would like to see this formalised in the upcoming Budget. It would do far more to help relieve struggling high streets and safeguard jobs and communities than short-term discounts which will only impact some businesses but not all.
"The retail rates discount is just another sticking plaster that ducks the real crisis facing high streets especially in vulnerable areas of England already suffering from years of economic decline and falling rents. However, it’s good to see the commitment to bring back the revaluation legislation that will help business’ rates bills more accurately reflect the rents they pay. This must be done urgently.”
Ian Wright commented, “We are committed to protect and enhance the natural environment. A crucial element in the supply of safe, high quality raw materials. We hope the legislation introduced as part of the Environment Bill will create a consistent, evidence-based approach to resource efficiency. Any new measures in this Bill must also support the reforms industry wishes to see made to the packaging producer responsibility system, the introduction of a deposit return system and more consistent local authority collections.
"The Government’s ambition to transform our waste processing system is laudable, but it must work to a realistic timetable to allow appropriate investment in UK infrastructure to come on stream to make up the processing shortfall.”
“We are committed customers of UK farmers. UK food and drink manufacturers purchase the majority of the country’s agricultural output. We will work closely with our friends in the NFU on the UK’s future food and agriculture policy. The UK’s nearly 8000 food and drink manufacturers must have access to adequate supplies of raw materials that are safe, of high quality and competitively priced.
"We are committed to reducing our own environmental impacts and to working with others to increase resource efficiency and help protect natural capital across the whole food supply chain. We believe that sustainable and globally competitive food production, which looks at the supply chain as a whole, should be the key objective to replace the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP),” said Ian Wright.