‘It’s absurd’ – here’s what the drinks industry is saying about the government’s no-deal Brexit plans

Cabinet ministers have approved £2 billion to go towards government departments as they “ramp up” preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

As part of these preparations, the cabinet has instructed UK businesses to begin planning for a no-deal in earnest. Ministers will send letters to 140,000 firms advising them about preparations.

The UK is scheduled to formerly leave the European Union by 29 March 2019, and despite PM Theresa May finalising a draft deal with EU officials last month, Parliament has yet to agree on terms for the country’s departure.

Businesses are being urged to pursue their own contingency plans, with a 100-page information pack set to be released this week.

The decision, which came to a head on Tuesday 18 December, has been met with concern and anger from authorities within the drinks sector.

Miles Beale, the chief executive of the Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), said it is “absurd that we are still in a position where businesses are without clarity and confidence that the UK will not crash out of the EU without a deal.”

But at the other end of the political spectrum Tim Martin, the founder of pub chain JD Wetherspoon, told the drinks business a no-deal will be “better for the UK economy and for the drinks industry.”

The SWA, meanwhile, said it is “following developments in Westminster closely.”

Click through to see what CEOs have to say about the latest Brexit update. We will keep updating this story as more comments come in.

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