Budget 2017

Budget requests: Boost export and R&D funding

The FDF urged Hammond to boost exports funding

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) urged Chancellor Philip Hammond to increase funding for food and drink exports and research and development (R&D), ahead of his first Budget today.

Extra funding was needed to prepare existing food and drink exporters, and firms planning overseas sales, for life after Brexit. It also needed funding for its pilot ‘Food and Drink Export Academy’ – a training scheme for exporters, also run by the Food and Drink Exporters Association, it said. It also called for incentives to encourage companies to base R&D facilities in the UK, to boost the UK’s innovation reputation.

‘Severe pressures’

In an open letter to the chancellor, FDF director general Ian Wright said: “Brexit will have a profound impact on the entire agri-food sector and on manufacturers in particular. Our members are already experiencing severe pressures from increased instability and rising input prices, affecting raw commodities and packaging.

“The current value of sterling does offer opportunity for companies to export more, and we urge government to use this Budget to boost its support for current and would-be exporters so UK firms can take advantage of increased global opportunities.”

The calls for funding came after an FDF survey revealed 41% of food and drink manufacturers were less confident about the UK’s business environment, compared with the organisation’s last survey in October. Ninety per cent of manufacturers’ ingredients and raw materials had increased in price since October, and 65% saw their product margins become tighter.

‘Already tight margins being squeezed still further’

Wright said: “Almost half of our members are less confident in the prospects for business than they were four months ago. That is driven by ingredient price rises and from already tight margins being squeezed still further as competition continues to rage between the supermarkets.

“But it’s a mixed picture. Nearly two thirds of members expect to see sales in the UK grow over the coming months. The same number see sales outside the EU growing too. We also know around half of our members expect sales within the EU to grow, so they’re optimistic about their future while worrying about the trading environment.”

Meanwhile, the Freight Transport Association urged Hammond to avoid “ditching diesel” in his Budget.

 

FDF survey results – at a glance
  • 41% less confident about UK business compared with October
  • Ingredients and raw material costs up for 90%
  • 65% saw product margins become tighter

Related News

Coco Pops boxes reduced from 550g to 510g (Flickr/Vincent Li)

Shrinkflation: Coco Pops and Peperami cut weight

Food manufacturers’ group launches Welsh identity

Food and Drink Federation launches FDF Cymru

The FDF welcomed the government's industrial strategy to develop skills

Industrial strategy an ‘important first step’: FDF

The FDF’s Ian Wright urged the prime minister to reassure the food industry about its continued access to foreign labour

FDF boss urges PM to offer labour supply assurances

Food waste reduced by manufacturers

Manufacturers significantly reduced food waste

Food trade aid: sterling’s fall has helped boost exports but made imports more expensive

Food and drink exports: ‘massive untapped potential’

The GMB union said UK workers must not be caught in the crossfire of Brexit

Food sector’s UK workers need Brexit assurances

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.