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British Summer Fruits reports on impact of Brexit on UK soft fruit industry

22 June 2017

British Summer Fruits has published a report on the impact of Brexit on the UK soft fruit industry, in particular the shortage of seasonal labour needed to tend and harvest soft fruit.

“We welcome and support this report from British Summer Fruits on seasonal labour which is a fundamental issue for this and other sectors of UK horticulture.  The challenge of having sufficient temporary labour, subject to the outcome of Brexit, is significant for the UK fresh produce industry: from harvesting, processing, packing and distribution of a wide range of fresh fruit, vegetables and cut flowers,” said Nigel Jenney, Chief Executive of the Fresh Produce Consortium

“We continue to raise these issues directly with the UK Government, and we are working with others in the UK food and drink sector which shares the same concerns in order to influence future policy. The food and drink industry employs nearly 4 million people. The UK Government must recognise the importance of the industry in terms of its size as an employer and contributor to our economy.”

The report ‘The Impact of Brexit on the UK Soft Fruit Industry’ by John Pelham of Andersons Midlands predicts:

  • Prices for strawberries and raspberries will rise by 35 to 50%
  • A slump in Government revenue from income tax, corporation tax and National Insurance
  • Falling soft fruit consumption
  • Less soft fruit being grown in the UK
  • Soft-fruit growers going out of business
  • Significantly reduced food self-sufficiency
  • A negative shift on the UK’s balance of payments as a result of increased imports
  • Implications for the environment.

The full report is available here and is supported by a media report.

Following the Queen’s speech to Parliament yesterday, FPC is reiterating its call for the UK Government to focus on delivering five outcomes:

  • Provide security for our valued EU employees and provision of a future workforce
  • Instil confidence in the UK market for investors
  • Secure beneficial trade agreements which will provide a seamless transition post-Brexit with the European Union and with our global trading partners
  • Build an efficient and effective regulatory framework which reduces the burden on industry
  • Provide assurances that UK Government funding will be in place to maintain competitiveness for UK growers.

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