Tuesday, 13 October 2020Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group that represents the food and drink sector, commenting on Budget 2021, has welcomed the Recovery Fund to stimulate demand and employment and proposals to extend the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme to the end of 2021. The Scheme could be extremely important in a Brexit context.
Paul Kelly, FDI Director said “Budget 2021 was prepared on the basis of a no deal Brexit. and these measures will support the sector most exposed to its fallout. However, in that event our food and drink exports to Great Britain will also face tariffs of up to €1.5 billion. A Tariff Support Mechanism fund to offset the tariff amount imposed by the UK on the most exposed sector of the Irish economy is now needed. The fund should also offset the impact of EU tariffs on indigenous manufacturers importing critical raw materials”.
Additional supports to address the impact of Brexit will be needed. Government must ensure that the Irish food and drink sector is backed by the EU Brexit Adjustment fund. Much more is needed to support capital investment programmes in the food processing sector.
FDI also welcomed funding for the establishment by the Department of Agriculture of a Food Ombudsman. Mr. Kelly said “National transposition of the Unfair Trading Practices Directive must ensure effective and efficient enforcement and there must be no roll-back on current protections in the Grocery Goods Undertakings Regulations 2016. The extent of proactivity by the enforcement authority in ensuring compliance with the Regulations will be a defining issue”.