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Brexit workforce worries

01 September 2017

Trade bodies from across the UK's food and drink supply chain have published a survey which looks at Brexit priorities for the UKs 'farm to fork' sector from a workforce perspective. It also highlights the severity of the situation that the UK food and drink supply chain faces without reassurances regarding the future of EU workers, 20% of which are employed across the food and drink supply chain. 

The survey found:
• 47% of businesses surveyed said EU nationals were considering leaving the UK due to uncertainty surrounding their future.
• Over one-third of businesses surveyed said they would become unviable if they had no access to EU workers.
• Almost one-third of businesses surveyed had seen EU nationals leave since the EU referendum.
• 17% of respondents said they would look to relocate overseas if they had no access to EU nationals.

Discussing the survey findings, Ian Wright CBE, director general, Food & Drink Federation said: “The UK food and drink supply chain ensures that consumers have access to a  safe and affordable range of food and drink. Food is a matter of national security, so the results of this report are of central concern to businesses across the 'farm to fork' industries. It is only a matter of time before the uncertainty reported by businesses results in an irreversible exit of EU workers from these shores. This is a scenario that will hurt the UK culturally and economically.

“Without our dedicated and valued workforce we would be unable to feed the nation. This is why it is imperative that we receive assurances from Government about their future, and that of our wider workforce.”

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