Editor’s comment: Election could produce a Brexit reality check
3 May 2017
It has been impossible this year to contemplate any sector within the process industries while avoiding reference to Brexit.
Nowhere is it more ubiquitous than in food and drink. The European market is intrinsic to so much of F&D’s import and export activity that the question of what will happen post-withdrawal overrides all else.
It also relies upon Europe for much of its workforce, so needs to find more – and skilled – people in record time, in competition with others.
Coupled with this, government initiatives on health promotion may be welcome but make the challenge of providing affordable products still harder.
Expect then a sigh of (very limited) relief at the recent news of the impending general election.
Given the scale of their lead in the polls, it is difficult to contemplate that the outcome will be anything other than an increased Tory majority.
An election may actually undermine the fetish for Brexit at any price
The paradox is that this may actually help undermine the prevailing fetish among a section on the Conservative backbenches for Brexit at any price: governments with slim majorities tend to be more, not less, at the whim of those who sit behind them.
For a party that has prided itself as the voice of British business, there has been a reluctance to pay heed or offer reassurance to those creating the wealth on which the UK economy depends.
Likewise, while parliamentarians (free market and otherwise) continue to enjoy the fruits of state subsidy, they must be aware that process sector workers will depend on economic stability.
Cover feature: Food & drink: an industry facing some difficult choices.