Food industry campaigns to new Prime Minister
Published:  14 July, 2016

New Prime Minister Theresa May has been called on to support British produce by the food and drink industry. 

Following May’s appointment, the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) president Meurig Raymond has written to her, urging support.

He wrote: “As our new Prime Minister will know all too well, from meeting NFU members in her Maidenhead constituency, the British farming industry has transformed itself to become innovative, sustainable and consumer-focused. It’s a seriously important industry – the bedrock of our largest manufacturing sector worth £108 billion per annum and one that employs 3.9 million people across the UK. In fact, it’s a sector bigger than the aeronautical and automobile manufacturing sectors combined.

“The NFU has an ambitious vision and our members are keen to achieve even more for Britain; with a rapidly growing population, declining food self-sufficiency, and new export markets, there is huge potential for growth.  

“I want our new Prime Minister to champion British food and farming and I have extended an open invitation to her to meet with me and my fellow officeholders, in order to share our vision for an exciting, dynamic and profitable future.”

The Food and Drink Federation director general Ian Wright CBE also wrote to May, setting out recommendations for the British food and drink industry to remain competitive as the nation prepares for Brexit.

These are:
•    Urgent reassurance for the nearly 100,000 EU nationals working in the UK food and drink manufacturing sector and continuing unhindered access to workers – at all skill levels – from the EU 27 nations.
•    Continued market access to consumers and vital ingredients across the EU 27 nations and to the advantageous trading arrangements that the EU has negotiated with third countries.
•    A clear roadmap setting out how the exit process will be managed to ensure an appropriate regulatory framework that ensures the continued confidence of consumers and industry.
•    Urgent action to address economic and currency volatility and a firm commitment to avoid introducing planned burdens on business: the proposed Apprenticeship Levy and Soft Drinks Levy must be placed on pause while uncertainty persists.