Historic Brexit vote leaves businesses with uncertainty
As TV political pundit Robert Peston put it before the UK’s historic parliamentary vote on Brexit last night, ‘we are living through history now’.
However, even such an astute observer as he could scarcely have imagined the unprecedented scale of defeat for the government’s plans – losing by 230 votes.
This is the worst result since the 1920s, but Prime Minister has surprised some in saying she will stay on despite the failure to approve her agreed deal.
Why does it matter to the confectionery and bakery sectors? Well, as the Food and Drink Federation has repeatedly warned along with other leading national business organisations, simply leaving the EU without any defined exit, will present huge logistical problems.
As for confectionery production itself, it was recently reported that a number of well-established items, such as Mars Bars, which rely on timely imports of several key ingredients from Europe are to be significantly affected if the UK leaves without a deal with the European Union in March.
Then there is the ‘just-in-time’ network of food deliveries between the UK and mainland Europe, which are likely to be subject to further costly border checks if we leave as anticipated in just a couple of months’ time.
Speaking to a number of companies over the past couple of years has seen widespread dismay from many at just how Britain has found itself in this predicament.
Besides the extreme divisions it has created throughout the country, the decision to leave is already impacting on our economy. It has been seen in the significant devaluation of the pound that has negatively impacted on a number of sectors including confectionery and bakery markets.
Quite how this major issue of our times will finally play out is anyone’s guess at this stage – it has the makings of a highly tense movie in its own right, given all its immensely unpredictable twists and turns.
The next two months are certainly going to see even more rollercoasters in store for us as we hurtle towards a final exit date in March – which many suspect will now be pushed back, potentially allowing a final chance to assemble something resembling an acceptable plan.