The British Poultry Council welcomes the Government’s temporary tariff regime for no-deal Brexit but calls on parliamentarians to take action to prevent the UK from leaving the EU with no-deal to ensure affordability and availability of British food.
BPC Chief Executive, Richard Griffiths, said:
“We welcome Government’s recognition of the importance of British poultry meat production in feeding the nation and the need to protect it during a period of extreme change. The BPC is currently assessing the impact of the proposed no-deal tariffs published by the Government this morning and will be raising its concerns over the application of these tariffs around the Northern Ireland border.
Today, we’re calling on parliamentarians to take action to prevent the UK from leaving the EU with no-deal to ensure affordability and availability of British food. A no-deal Brexit would be incredibly damaging for our sector, for our ability to trade, for our workforce and for British consumers of poultry meat. We directly employ 40,200 people up and down the country, 60% of our workforce are EU nationals. Britain could risk losing the EU nationals employed by our sector, the £5.1bn Gross Value Added we contribute to the economy and the £1bn in tax revenue we generate.
Almost three quarters of our imports (£2bn/year) and exports (£500m/year) are with the EU – ensuring a continuation of trade with that market is essential. We are concerned that leaving with no-deal could effectively result in the import of products produced to lower standards; and in export tariffs being imposed on poultry meat that goes to the EU (27% increase on chicken).
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, there will be increases in the costs of production which would be reflected in the price of fresh UK chicken. We estimate in the worst case no-deal scenario, the price of breast meat could rise by 25%.
If the Government is serious about making Brexit work, then it must avoid running the risk of creating a two-tier food system where only the affluent can afford to eat British poultry that meets British standards from farm to fork. It’s crucial that the UK finds a workable trade deal with the EU and gives our sector access to non-UK labour.”