Brexit white paper: The trade reacts

Claire Dodd

Claire Dodd

06 February 2017

The government has published an official policy document setting out 12 principles for its negotiations with the EU on Britain’s exit from the union.

These include an announcement that the UK will seek to withdraw from the single market, and that a new system to control EU immigration will be introduced. However, this may be phased in to allow businesses to prepare, while any new system will be designed to help fill skills shortages.

We sum up some reactions from the trade:

SIBA

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has said it is vital that Britain's independent brewers export activities are protected at a time when British beer is in high demand.

Mike Benner, SIBA managing director said: 'It is positive news that the Government are beginning to set out their plans for Britain leaving the EU and that the protection of British export and the creation of a new free-trade agreement are central to this. There has never been higher demand globally for beer from Britain's independent craft breweries and for many of our members export is becoming a key part of their business. As Britain exits the European Union it is vital that export is protected for Britain's independent breweries and this thriving industry is given the opportunity to continue to grow.'

ALMR

The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has urged the government to ensure that licensed hospitality businesses are guaranteed a clear voice in the proceedings.

ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: 'The government’s white paper identifies the need to ensure that the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union does not prompt a skills shortage in this country.

'The government must secure the right to remain for non-EU UK workers and ensure that any developments relating to travel avoid a labour shortage. Licensed hospitality is dependent on workers from the EU and any restrictions that undermine an employer’s ability to find the right staff could have consequences for pubs and bars, for the high street and for the wider economy.

'Licensed hospitality businesses are integral to the success of the wider economy and this needs to be at the forefront of the government’s minds as it approaches withdrawal from the EU.'

BBPA

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Brigid Simmonds said guarantees on workers' rights were welcomed.

'I welcome the Government’s commitment to protect workers' rights, and to work with industry to secure the status of EU citizens in the UK. There is also a recognition that there may be a need for a phased process of implementation in this area, so that businesses have time to adjust.

'Initial responses to a survey of BBPA members show that 27% of the workforce are from overseas, and this rises to 40% and more in metropolitan areas. Kitchen staff are a particular area of concern.

'The White Paper recognises the need to understand the impact on different sectors, and we will be working to ensure that the Government has a clear understanding of the needs of the hospitality sector for the skills, and soft skills, that are so essential for our needs.

'The focus on exports is also welcome, and we look forward to working with the Government to ensure that opportunities to create new markets for British beer are maximised.'

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