The Grapevine

The WSTA's views, distilled.

Planning for a No Deal EU Exit

Today @wstauk launched our report on a No Deal exit and the impact on planning for our 330 members

The UK acts as a global hub for wine and spirits. They are UK’s biggest food and drink export. We import 99% of wine consumed in the UK – roughly half and half from the EU and third countries. Gin is the biggest growing export & is worth over £600m.

We asked our members how they planned for March 2019, how that impacted their business, and how they intend to plan for October.

It’s safe to say their businesses have already been affected – and that’s before we’ve even exited.

  • Cash has gone into stock-building
  • A huge amount of staff time has been diverted into Brexit planning
  • Sterling devaluation affected imports and supply chains
  • Movements were disrupted in the week 29 March

Yet they did prepare. They will do again. And regardless of the outcome, our industry will continue to succeed. Don’t worry - there will be sherry and brandy at Christmas.

BUT this is not to say that the industry is “fine” with a No Deal exit.

No Deal is the worst-case scenario for our members, especially in October. In the lead up to Christmas and NYE, some W&S businesses generate more than 70% of their annual turnover.

We’ve spent the last three years preparing our members for No Deal. Just this year alone I have delivered 14 presentations to groups of industry stakeholders here and in the EU.

Our Government engagement is at an all-time high, and we’ve worked hard to mitigate all the risks we can and make sure the consequences of leaving without a deal are understood.

But No Deal is still a major risk and we must continue to prepare for that outcome. And this is our contribution, setting out practical measures Government can take to mitigate the risk of No Deal.

We need a clear timetable and a commitment from Government to support the sector to allow it to invest and grow.

But most of all we need clarity, certainty, and No Deal off the table.

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