Brexit could leave a third of food and drink sector unviable as EU workers flee Britain, firms warn

 
Oliver Gill
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Food and Drink Federation director-general Ian Wright said food is “a matter of national security” (Source: Getty)

A third of companies in Britain’s food and drink sector could be left unviable as a result of Brexit-fuelled workforce shortages, leading trade bodies from across the sector have warned.

The Food and Drink Federation said the government is facing a “rapidly approaching workforce shortage and skills gap”.

“An abrupt reduction in the number of workers from the EU able to work in the UK after Brexit would cause significant disruption to the whole food and drinks supply chain,” the federation said.

Read more: Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin: I dare EU to round up ex-pats

Almost half the businesses surveyed in “farm to fork” research said EU nationals were considering leaving the UK as a result of uncertainty around their future.

Nearly a third of firms said they had already noted workers leaving since the Brexit vote in 2016.

Food and Drink Federation director-general Ian Wright said food is “a matter of national security” and the exit of EU workers would “hurt the UK culturally and economically”.

He continued:

It is imperative that we receive assurances from the government about their [EU nationals] future and that of our wider workforce.

Read more: Food and drink reps want permits for their EU workers

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