The BBPA’s Chief Executive, Brigid Simmonds, has commented on the Prime Minister’s declaration that Article 50 will be triggered on March 29th, setting in motion the process for Britain to leave the European Union:
“The Prime Minister has voiced support for competitive tax rates for businesses in the UK, and as the formal process for leaving the European Union begins on 29th March, I hope that this support continues.
“I would urge the Government to look at the value of the UK’s food and drink sector to the British economy and ensure that, as we leave the EU, our sector is protected. Beer is the UK’s third biggest food and drink export, worth more than £550 million to the UK economy.
“British brewing is respected and admired the world over, and as new trading relationships are developed, it is important to ensure that we can export on a competitive footing and trade as freely as possible. Currently, 63 per cent of Britain’s beer exports go to the European Union, with the remaining 37 per cent heading outside the EU.
“Boosting current electronic trading arrangements, which at the moment facilitate the smooth trading of beer across borders, should be an important part of any new trade agreements.
“It has been reassuring to hear that Britain will look to ensure that those already working in the UK have the right to remain here. Over 20 per cent of workers in our pubs are not UK nationals, and it’s important to note that in metropolitan areas, particularly London and the South East, this figure will be much higher. It is vital that these workers’ rights are protected, which will provide much welcome stability both to them personally, and to our sector.”