WSTA: Industry ‘vulnerable’ to no-deal Brexit

The Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) warns that the industry “remains vulnerable to a disastrous no-deal scenario” following the announcement that Theresa May will step down as UK prime minister.

Last Friday (28 May), May said she would resign as Conservative leader on 7 June, with a replacement yet to be named.

May has been the subject of criticism in her handling of Brexit – her Brexit deal was overwhelmingly rejected in the House of Commons three times in the weeks running up to the original scheduled exit date at the end of March.

Miles Beale, CEO of the WSTA, has branded her Brexit approach as “neither clearly defined nor successful”.

He said: “As a result we remain vulnerable to a disastrous ‘no-deal’ scenario. A change of leadership neither provides our industry with the answers it needs, nor change the WSTA’s long stated position – which is for the government to deliver an outcome that allows this industry to continue international trade in its products without delays, barriers or additional costs.”

Beale added that the no-deal scenario “has never been categorically taken off the table” despite facing opposition from parliament.

“It is imperative that a new leader confirms that the UK will not leave without a deal and moves quickly to find a solution,” said Beale.

Beale also claimed that nearly 80% of the trade body’s members had made preparations for the original exit date of 29 March and will have to prepare again ahead of the new Brexit date on 31 October – the “busiest commercial time of the year” for the industry.

He said: “It’s difficult for businesses to determine the exact cost of Brexit contingency planning, including stockpiling and other measures, but we have heard estimates ranging from £20,000 to £5 million.”

For an in-depth analysis of how Brexit will impact the spirits industry, click here.


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Author: Nicola Carruthers {authorlink}