Finding a Voice for our Brexit Bulldogs

Finding a Voice for our Brexit Bulldogs

2nd November, 2017 by Simon Mowbray

Food and drink industry analyst IGD has launched a Brexit Workout, which challenges members to answer six questions about their businesses to find if they are ready for the fallout of the biggest political and economic event for a generation.

To IGD’s list, we would add a seventh – Communicate.

So, having a voice on these issues in a public arena – if you believe they could affect your business – is essential if the UK government is to take into consideration the full array of what it needs to achieve in its negotiations with Brussels.

Cue our client English Apples & Pears, which yesterday launched its Seasonal Labour Report. The report spells out exactly what a failure to secure continued free movement of temporary EU labour would mean to its industry.

Here are some extracts:

– Around 10,300 seasonal workers were employed in UK orchard fruit production in 2016, the vast majority from the EU
– Based on current forecasts, another 1,200 per year workers per year will be needed by 2021 to keep pace with growing demand for British orchard fruit
– With those positions unlikely to be filled by UK nationals, the likely consequences of restricted seasonal worker numbers would include:

  • A reduction in the number of UK orchard fruit growing businesses, a reduced area of production, and a subsequent fall in the volume of production
  • A significant reduction in UK self-sufficiency in orchard fruits
  • An increase in the volume of orchard fruit imports into the UK

In much greater detail, the report points out the obvious consequences that this would have for a nation that is only 30% self-sufficient in the amount of orchard fruit consumed, including rising prices, reduced tax receipts and environmental considerations.

What English Apples & Pears report really does, though, is push the debate into a very public forum. And that is not easy for our Brexit negotiators to ignore.