Following Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon. Philip Hammond MP’s Autumn Statement, Food and Drink Federation Director General Ian Wright CBE has issued the following comment:
“Food and drink manufacturing is strategically important to the UK economy and in ensuring future food security. Worth £21.9 billion, employing around 400,000 people, and feeding millions every day, UK food and drink manufacturers have been a beacon of productivity and export growth, as this week’s exceptional figures showed.
“Exports of branded food and drink are at their highest level on record and yet there is massive untapped opportunity for UK businesses. Doubling of export finance capacity to support trade is welcome. We will work with UK Export Finance (UKEF) to boost awareness among food and drink exporters of the products and services they provide. For food and drink producers, it’s the on-the-ground support such as mentoring and increased UK presence at internationals trade shows which can result in the greatest gains.
“With its regional spread, food and drink manufacturers are well placed to help ensure every corner of the UK shares in economic success. The £23bn funding for productivity is the right commitment at the right time. Productivity growth in food and drink manufacturing continues to outstrip the wider economy and FDF, with our President, Dame Fiona Kendrick of Nestlé, has worked with Sir Charlie Mayfield and other industrial partners to identify the levers to turbocharge future progress. FDF published its action plan for industry earlier this summer.
“For food and drink, the Chancellor’s support for the productivity agenda and extra funding for innovation more broadly means better skilled jobs, more sustainable manufacturing processes, and greater capacity for R&D.
“An effective partnership between industry and Government has never been more important as we face into the significant economic challenges described in today’s Autumn Statement and embark on a new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world. We need a new industrial strategy, informed by the particular needs of food and drink manufacturers, so we can sustain our workforce needs, access essential raw ingredients and maintain consumer confidence in our industry.