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Food industry response to Andrea Leadsom's speech at Conservative Party Conference 2016

3 October 2016

Food industry response to Andrea Leadsom's speech at Conservative Party Conference 2016

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Responding to the speech from Rt Hon Andrea Leadsom MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, at the Conservative Party Conference, Ian Wright CBE, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, the voice of the UK's largest manufacturing sector – food and drink, said:

“The Secretary of State's confidence in our sector and optimism for the future are heartening. As discussions regarding Britain exiting the EU begin, this country's 6,500 plus food and drink producers are looking to their ambassadors in Government to secure a workable future relationship with the EU.

“As the UK's largest manufacturing sector, employing 400,000 people across the UK and contributing £21.9bn to the UK economy, our industry is a major national asset and the envy of the world.

“Our industry requires a stable economic environment in order to remain competitive as we look to continue increasing levels of productivity, growing exports to exceed the £12.3bn figure achieved in 2015 and trebling our apprenticeship workforce by 2020.

“We remain committed on the need for Government to recognise the strategic importance of our industry in EU exit negotiations, in the face of resulting uncertainty following the decision to leave the EU. We offer our expertise and insight to the Secretary of State and share her enthusiasm for our vibrant industry.”

Notes to Editors

  • Food and drink manufacturing accounts for 16% of the total manufacturing sector by turnover and employs around 400,000 people in the UK across 6,620 businesses.
  • Productivity in food and drink grew by 11 per cent in the five years from 2009-2014, compared to 0.5 per cent across the whole economy.
  • The vast majority – 96% - of food and drink producers in this country micro to medium-sized.
  • FDF's Manifesto: Priorities for a new UK – EU Relationship

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Distribution channels: Food & Beverages