Leaders from 32 organisations across the food supply chain have written to Defra Secretary Michael Gove to express their ‘deep concern’ over the resources they are having to divert to protect against the potential impact of a no-deal Brexit.
In the letter, the business leaders wrote: “Businesses throughout the UK food chain – and their trade associations – are now totally focused on working to mitigate the catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit. Large amounts of time, money, people and effort are being diverted to that end.
“At this moment of potential crisis for our industry, it cannot be ‘business as usual’ within government. Neither we nor our members have the physical resources nor organisational bandwidth to engage with and properly respond to non-Brexit related policy consultations or initiatives at this time.”
The letter continued: “Government has recruited many extra staff; we cannot. We very strongly urge you therefore to require of your Cabinet colleagues that a range of current and planned consultations that will impact food and drink, some of which are expected shortly, are firmly and clearly placed on “pause” until this uncertainty is over.
“If government seeks to press ahead with these consultations it will be seen by some as a sign of bad faith and many organisations may decline to respond. We are grateful for your assistance with this issue.”
Signatories include the NFU, Food and Drink Federation, the International Meat Trade Association, the British Meat Processors Association, the British Poultry Association, Dairy UK and UK Hospitality.