Make UK salutes Brexit deal but warns the hard work’s not over
5 Jan 2021
Chief executive of Make UK Stephen Phipson has welcomed the long-awaited trade deal between the European Union and the UK but cautioned there is further work to do to ensure this runs smoothly.
“Industry will cautiously welcome the Government’s present of a provisional trade agreement that avoids the catastrophe of no deal; tariffs and quotas would have been a disaster for exporters,” said Phipson.
But the manufacturers’ leader, who had been one of the most outspoken opponents of the feared no deal Brexit, warned much needed to be done to be certain the legal agreement works well in practice.
“We will need to go through this with a fine tooth comb to understand exactly what the impact on manufacturers will be. The UK and EU must now urgently move to ensure provisional application from 1 January to ensure trade can continue as normal before formal ratification,” said Phipson..
“It is important that with a deal in place the UK can start to build for the future with our European partners but there are many months of further hard work yet to come. Furthermore, It is also crucial to recognise that, even with an agreement, companies will need time to adapt to the huge and complex changes ahead.
He added that even without the effects of pandemic, it would be “stretching credibility” to believe the companies that export hundreds of billions of pounds worth of goods each year could adapt to a fundamentally different trading model in a single working week.
“It is in everyone’s interest for the UK and EU to jointly agree that with the legal start of this deal significant easements and an adjustment period, with review clauses if necessary, are vital. This will ensure the new systems and processes which will underpin this trade agreement, and the companies that will rely on them, can acclimatise successfully,” he concluded.
Elsewhere, a survey by the waste specialist company Business Waste, suggested panic buying was on the increase in the run up to the agreement. Spokesman Mark Hall said that behaviours in the UK earlier this year suggested Brexit could cause a second wave of panic buying
“As we all saw from the first wave of panic buying, stockpiling only leads to a huge unnecessary rise in food waste,” he remarked
Last March, BusinessWaste.co.uk reported that £1 million-worth of food was wasted early last year thanks to panic purchases.
Its recent online survey with 1,100 participants ahead of Brexit, showed close to two thirds of respondents said they planned to stockpile foods and goods while an estimated 20 percent admittedthey had done so already.
“It’s clear that over half of people are planning on making sure they have plenty just in case, and it seems that around 1 in 5 people are already stockpiling ahead of Brexit,” said Hall.
“Half of people are worried that the items they want won’t be available, and the other half are worried that after Brexit the things they usually buy will go up in price, so are stockpiling now to save money in the future.”
Top of the stockpile list were dried and tinned goods such as pasta, rice, baked beans, UHT milk, baby milk formula and predictably, teabags.