The Guardian released their latest poll from ICM earlier today. Topline voting intention figures were CON 42%(nc), LAB 39%(-2), LDEM 8%(+1). Changes are from early April and fieldwork was Friday to Sunday, so once the Windrush scandal was in full throw but before Amber Rudd’s resignation. While the changes are well within the normal margin of error, three points matches the largest Tory lead ICM have recorded since the election (and bear in mind the last two weekly YouGov polls also showed the Tory lead at a post-election high). In other words, while I would still urge caution about reading too much into a couple of polls showing a similar pattern, it’s possible that the Conservatives are opening up a small lead. It is worth keep an eye on at least.

Voting intention polls don’t tell us that much at this stage of the Parliament, but if the Tories have improved their position relative to Labour over the last few weeks then perhaps Thursday’s local elections may not be so bad for them as they might have been (for what it’s worth, when the same council wards were last fought in 2014 the Labour party had a small lead in the national polls… but of course, the polls back then were likely over stating Labour, so that does not necessarily imply a swing to the Tories). On the subject of local elections, Survation have said they’ll be releasing some London local election polling overnight.

Turning back to the ICM poll they also asked about the impending visit by Donald Trump. 33% of people said they supported Trump’s visit, 31% were opposed, 33% neither supported nor opposed it. Full tabs for the poll are here.

UPDATE: As well as the ICM poll, there is also a new ComRes poll out for the Sunday Express. As with ICM fieldwork was Friday to Sunday, so at a time when Windrush was all over the news, but before Amber Rudd resigned. Topline figures with changes from mid-April are CON 40%(nc), LAB 40%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2). The parties are neck-and-neck, rather than the slight Tory lead we’ve seen in other recent polls, but it does not suggest that the Windrush scandal has had any impact.

183 Responses to “Latest ICM and ComRes voting intention polls”

1 2 3 4
  1. If the local election results are really bad for the Tories and Theresa May cannot obtain enough support for the new EU customs arrangement, what do people think will happen ?

    Tory leadership contest ? Would TM stand again ?

    General election within months ?

    Would Corbyn be asked to try to form a Government ?

    I cannot see that the Tories will be able to get EU related legislation through and conclude everything Brexit related before March 2019. I don’t think enough time has been allowed for the politics to be played out. And it is not just UK Politics, but Irish politics, EU politics etc. You cannot just look at Brexit either, as there are a lot of other issues.

    Still predicting a General Election before December 2018 and an extension to the Brexit timetable with Article 50 extended by consent of the EU and all EU countries.

  2. Interesting detail in the ComRes poll.

    • The Conservatives and Labour are neck and neck, with 40% of the vote each

    • Despite the two main parties polling neck and neck, those who disagree that the economy would be stronger if Corbyn was PM outnumber those who agree by more than two to one (51% to 24%)

    • Just over one in five (22%) overall say international confidence in Britain’s economy would be stronger with Corbyn as PM, with more than half of voters (52%) disagreeing

    • By a ratio of more than two to one, British people feel there has ‘probably never been a better time to be alive’

    • ‘The beauty of the British countryside’ tops poll of what people most value about Britain

    • 85% think the NHS ‘rightly a tremendous source of national pride’

    • Also, by more than two to one, people feel Britain can be proud of the impending Royal Wedding and birth of Prince Louis

    No great signs of doom and gloom from the voters polled and not much joy for Corbyn supporters is my view on the poll.

  3. Looks like crunch time approaching for May on the customs union issue. Hammond goes public in support of the idea, 30 hard core MPs write to her telling her to drop the option.

    I think we’ll see fairly soon where May’s real thinking l!es, and if she goes with the hard core, the reaction of businesses might start to impinge on the public consciousness.

  4. Agonising over the effects of large scale , uncontrolled immigration is not restricted to UK:-

  5. ALEC

    @” if she goes with the hard core, the reaction of businesses might start to impinge on the public consciousness.”

    Hmmm-when “businesses” really think about having to pay EU tariffs on their imports up front, and then bear the cost of proving those products stay in UK in order to reclaim those tariffs ; I wonder which option they will think of as ” hard core” ?

  6. @ R Huckle

    “If the local election results are really bad for the Tories and Theresa May cannot obtain enough support for the new EU customs arrangement, what do people think will happen ?”

    I doubt the locals will be a tipping point, just a bit of fun for us polling geeks. If the Theresa May ship does run aground, it will be due to some sticking point about Brexit. That’s what I’ve felt since the GE, and I’m sure I’m not alone in that opinion. However they play things down (as seems to have been the case on Today this morning), I think the stakes just got a little higher today.

  7. Colin: “Hmmm-when “businesses” really think about having to pay EU tariffs on their imports up front, and then bear the cost of proving those products stay in UK in order to reclaim those tariffs ; I wonder which option they will think of as ” hard core” ?”

    That’s easy: any of the varieties of brexit on offer, because they’re all disastrous for business compared with the status quo.

    That’s been the consistent message from business, but there are some who just don’t want to believe that businesses know what’s good (and bad) for them.

  8. Somerjohn

    The problem with business and most politicians is they think only short term and do not see how good things can be longer term if we leave the EU which is an enterprise doomed to ultimate failure.

    Have a good day all.


    My impression is that Business has one overriding requirement of Government-Certainty.

    It will try to cope with all Policy change-provided it gets sufficient notice & total clarity.

    It isn’t getting either at present.

    In terms of the detail of Business concerns ,this Poll is an interesting insight:-

  10. @colin

    Businesses will have to deal with reporting on rules of origin when exporting the EU outside the Customs Union yet you do not seem very concerned about that.

  11. ALEC

    “I think we’ll see fairly soon where May’s real thinking l!es, and if she goes with the hard core, the reaction of businesses might start to impinge on the public consciousness.”

    I am not so sure we will see any signs of a decision just yet. Judging by the words of Davis and Lidington it looks like nothing will be decided until the last minute. Davis, you will probably recall, thinks a FTA with the EU can be agreed by March next year.

    Meanwhile the EU is preparing for an accidental no deal. Ireland has a large new ro-ro ship, Celine.

    Are you aware of any UK preparations in the event of no deal?

  12. I don’t really understand this general idea that Labour will do better than the Tories tomorrow. The opinion polls in 2014 had a small but consistent Labour lead nationally while this time there is a small Tory lead.

    I get that the national variations might mean the metropolitan places have better swings for Labour than overall UNS and there will presumably be more of these than the 1/3rd councils that won’t be so good for Labour but just based on national opinion polls you would expect the Tories to make more gains than Labour surely?

  13. Taking the 4 latest polls, which gives a large sample although methodologies may differ, Con have an average lead over Lab of around 2% and none of them shows a Lab lead (3 Con leads and 1tie). My own view is that, for some people, worry about Corbyn as PM outweighs their preference for his policies. May has a good lead in “best PM”.

    The slight rise in LD figures could be remainers or it could be that campaigning for the locals has made some people remember that LDs are there as they have had little national publicity.

  14. New Yougov taken from Monday-Tuesday, so post-rudd resignation. No significant change.

    CON 42 (-1)
    LAB 38 (-)
    LDEM 7 (-1)
    GRN 3 (-)
    UKIP 3 (-)

  15. New Yougov taken from Monday-Tuesday, so post-rudd resignation. No significant change.

    CON 42 (-1)
    LAB 38 (-)
    LDEM 7 (-1)
    GRN 3 (-)
    UKIP 3 (-)

  16. Good to see the Resolution Foundation having a go at solving Inheritance Tax issues. They suggest that IT is both very unpopular while also being very ineffective, raising little and being wide open to abuse.

    they also recognise the explosion of asset prices is distorting traditional tax income streams, which are more traditionally based on income, and from this accept the need to see a shift to more wealth based taxes.

    Their solution is simple, and rather good. Instead of looking to alter tax on the deceased persons estate, instead they suggest a simple lifetime gift allowance for the recipients. They suggest £125,000, with gifts above this taxed at a much more modest 20%, with possibly higher thresholds for higher earners.

    Again, philosophically this does meet some of the objections to IT. Some people think that taxing a dead persons assets is double or triple taxation, and although this is a completely illogical and odd idea, it has great traction.

    The RF’s approach doesn’t tax any individuals estate after death, but instead taxes as income the recipients benefits. This would seem fair, as taxing unearned income from any source would seem to be an even handed approach. It also means that vehicles such as off shore funds or family trusts become irrelevant, as the recipients would need to declare any income received anyway.

    It isn’t clear from the reports I have read what they ;propose to do about one of the big avoidance measures, which is agricultural land investment. Farms are not subject to IT, so this is a great way to hand down huge wealth tax free.

    However, the basis of their thinking looks sound. Politically, this is interesting as it has been led by ‘Two Brains’ Willets, former Conservative minister. In my mind, much needed reform of IT will come sooner or later, either through the actions of a more left of centre Labour government, or from a Tory administration struggling to stabilise the tax base and recognising the long term unsustainability of the public finances unless the balance between wealth and income based taxes is adjusted.

  17. Alec

    “although this is a completely illogical and odd idea”

    That was not necessary as it’s only your opinion. I think it would be much better to scrap the whole idea of inheritance tax or wealth taxes. Just IMO of course.

  18. Thanks Frosty

    Reinforces the Tory lead.

  19. The collateral damage of the hostile environment.

    The government went after cheats, but used an automated software, so deported 7000 legitimate students too.

  20. Strong rebound in construction figures from Markit after yesterdays disappointing manufacturing figures.

  21. @Colin

    Thanks for the link to the Boldt report. Although based just on analysis of tweets by companies and trade bodies across the EU (with a heavy bias to UK) and USA, it reflects the expected concerns. For example:

    UK companies are very concerned by Brexit’s potential impact on industry across a wide range of issues particularly the competitiveness of UK sectors. European countries appear less worried

    It’s also notable that companies are generally keeping their heads down and getting trade bodies to voice their concerns.


    There’s not much pointing in complaining about the short-termism of UK business. That’s the Anglo-US Thatcherite model, and unless we start to become more ‘European’ we’re stuck with it.

    The recent takeover of GKN is just the latest example of the price to be paid by companies which invest too much in R&D, looking to the long game. They get taken over by city slickers, broken up, sold off and disappear, like GEC, Joe Lucas and dozens more before them.

  22. @TOH – “That was not necessary as it’s only your opinion.”

    No – this is nothing to do with opinion – it is a measurable fact. Just because you can’t understand something, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a fact.

    When you get paid, you pay income tax on anything over £11,800 (I think?). Above this threshold, if you are under 67 you are also paying National Insurance. Straightaway that’s double taxation.

    You then use some of that to buy insurance, and pay IPT, or buy a car, and pay VAT, road vehicle tax etc, then you buy petrol, and pay VAT and road fuel duty etc.
    If you buy a house, you pay Stamp Duty, etc, etc. double and triple taxation all round!

    One of the few areas where there is no taxation at all is on the capital uplift of your domestic residence, up until the IT threshold. That’s about the only bit of income that isn’t taxed at all.

    I’m sorry that you’re completely wrong on this, but I really can’t help you there.


    The customs partnership is a nonsense though, one of May’s many muddled fudges. Very complex and costly for businesses to administer. Indeed, CU without SM will still entail just as much paperwork for companies exporting to the EU, it doesn’t really make any sense to have the former without the latter. If you have both then we’re better off staying in (which I know that many on here agree with), if we’re going to leave then it’s a CETA-style relationship and probably max-fac for the NI border. Those are the two sensible options – remain or Canada (with a + here or there). Anything else is a bad idea.


    The catastrophic impact of the various kinds of Brexit has really been overstated. The worst case scenarios are still only a fraction of a percent annual impact on GDP, and yet to hear most remainers talk about it it’s as if half of all business will immediately cease.

  24. @TOH – “Strong rebound in construction figures from Markit after yesterdays disappointing manufacturing figures.”


    From the survey:

    “April data indicated a moderate recovery in
    construction output following the weather-related
    disruptions seen during March.”

    “However, there were signs that underlying demand
    across the construction sector remained subdued,
    with total new work rising only marginally in April. ”

    That isn’t even cherry picking – that’s just plain old misrepresentation. Naughty naughty!

  25. Raw stats on the yougov poll do show quite a change though, from a CON lead of 4 two weeks ago down to 1 point now. I think Labour voters mark themselves slightly less likely to vote than Conservative voters. Generally the polls seem to be suggesting Conservatives are a couple of points ahead.

    Can’t help thinking that there is a comparative calm before the storm in the Conservative party though, surely Theresa May will have to upset part of her party soon.

  26. @Garj – It does get a bit muddled, but as @Hireton noted upthread, the costs of a CU would still be borne by the UK even if we weren’t in one, with only the ‘benefits’ of free trade deals offering a carrot.

    This then assumes that we would get better trade terms than the EU can get, which is very much up for debate. Just look at the US attitude to the US/UK air travel talks – they are digging in and refusing to give us as good a deal as we currently have through the EU.

    So the whole premise of a CU being a daft option is contingent on the UK securing advantages from new trade deals, whereas the evidence suggests this won’t be the case. Therefore, some form of CU may indeed be the best option outside the SM.

    It all hangs on how effective the trade deals would be.

    Also – decimal points off GDP. I’ve tried to explain this before, but no, it really is catastrophic.

    By 2030, losing 0.2% pa off GDP year by year means that HMG would lose tax revenues equivalent to most of the defence budget, all else being equal.

    I’m not offering this as a prediction, but the dismissal of marginal impacts on GDP is colossal over time if these are not reversed. You really shouldn’t write such things off just because the fraction of a percent looks very small. That’s an innumerate approach to national finances.


    […] are the London councils generally counting overnight or on Friday?

    It’s a mixture. Most are overnight but some are leaving it till the next day (rather more than in the past is my impression). Four of the London Boroughs also have Mayoral elections and most of those count the next day because of the need to separate papers and count two lots of votes.

    The only exception in those four is Tower Hamlets, which is hoping to get it over with by 7am. Given the mess they made in 2014[1], this seems optimistic. Of course they don’t say 7am on what day. Or indeed month.

    Anyway as usual the Press Association has produced a useful list of estimated declaration times – available either in authority name or declaration time order available from here:

    [1] From memory the first results didn’t emerge till Monday and some took a week. At one stage they had to pack everything up because the hall was double-booked. And then the Mayoral result got overturned.

  28. Donald Trump wrote own health letter, says physician Harold Bornstein

    And this bullsh!tter is coming here for a ‘semi- State’ visit?

  29. ALEC

    I’m well aware of the cumulative impact of a small percentage loss of GDP, thanks very much, but catastrophic is a wild exaggeration. Catastrophic implies that business will immediately be hugely harmed by Brexit, whereas in reality it will take a hit of just a fifth of a percent. 20% is catastrophic, 0.2% is a rounding error. There are an awful lot of things that could have a similar GDP impact; adding a few points to corporation tax would have a similar effect on growth, so would reducing immigration by a few tens of thousands a year. That’s my point – it’s not that the impact isn’t real, but cumulative or not it is quite small in the scheme of things.

  30. Regarding the local elections and turnout, I think in this election due to the stage of electoral cycle and the way Windrush saga has panned out, Labour will be beneficiaries and that more Tory voters will stay at home compared to average local elections.

    For me, the high figures for the Tories in opinion polls are related to Brexit – clearly they have a lot of support from former UKIP voters to ‘deliver on Brexit’. However, as alluded to by some posters we are approaching crunch point sometime soon, and one part of the Tory party and their supporters is going to be very upset – and surely this will get reflected in subsequent opinion polls. If we do end up outside the Customs Union the short/medium/long-term (depending on your view) economic pain will have big impact on the polls, even if the Tories replace Theresa May with a shiny new leader.

    On the locals I think whilst Labour will make some big gains they will just miss out on taking Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea, and that Wandsworth will be v close – without consulting Wikipedia on Lib Dem/other seats, is there a chance it could end up in No Overall Control?

  31. @ COLIN – thank you for the link. KPMG’s report agrees:

    ‘UK businesses want legal certainty…”

    Elsewhere in the KPMG info on businesses:
    “3 out of 10 (33%) expect a negative impact on their business, but 4 out of 10 (43%) expect their business to see some competitive advantage”

    Looking at the list of “challenges” and “opportunities” it is easy to see where HMG can and should be providing more certainty and I’d add in the need to provide some positivity as well – May still seems to be adopting this “damage limitation” approach – drives me crazy!

  32. Alec

    “So the whole premise of a CU being a daft option is contingent on the UK securing advantages from new trade deals, whereas the evidence suggests this won’t be the case. Therefore, some form of CU may indeed be the best option outside the SM.”

    But those is not leaving the EU, just makes us even more of a vassal state. Not why we voted to leave IMO.

  33. Trevor

    “May still seems to be adopting this “damage limitation” approach – drives me crazy!”

    Me to, it’s this short termism we see so much from business and government as i posted above.

  34. @garj

    “if we’re going to leave then it’s a CETA-style relationship and probably max-fac for the NI border.”

    That won’t meet the stated objectives of both the UK Government and the EU for the NI border.

  35. Alec
    “Naughty naughty!”

    Not at all look as I was just quoting the Markit report:-

    “At 52.5 in April, the seasonally adjusted IHS Markit/CIPS UK Construction Purchasing Managers’ Index® (PMI® ) picked up sharply from the 20-month low seen in March (47.0).”

    You got it wrong again I’m afraid. I did not go into detail just the basic numbers.

  36. Alec

    “No – this is nothing to do with opinion – it is a measurable fact. Just because you can’t understand something, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t a fact.”

    It’s not me that doesn’t understand it’s you, it clearly is triple taxation. However i am happy to let you live with your illusions.


    I don’t really care, the NI border has been blown out of all proportion and should not be wagging the Brexit tail. What is best for the 65 million people living in the UK overall is much more important than posturing about something which will only really affect a tiny handful of people running larger cross-border businesses.

    Besides which, max-fac can easily be made to operate on the basis of pre-announcement and approvals, with any necessary checks carried out at some distance from the border. It’s what they do in Switzerland, where they have far far more people and goods crossing every day. It’s not even as if CU without SM solves the need for border controls, nor is it as if we don’t already have different tax regimes, smuggling, and border checks as things stand either. May was a fool to be panicked into signing away an effective veto of the border issue to the EU, who are now just teaming up with remainers to use it as a stick to beat her over the head.

  38. @alec

    “This then assumes that we would get better trade terms than the EU can get, which is very much up for debate. ”

    It seems this is now the only economic game in town for Brexiters to claim an economic benefit from Brexit.

    Yet they still seem unable to actually give concrete examples of how this will happen.

    There seem to be a few strands to their assertions:

    speed: the UK will be able to conclude deals more quickly than the EU. Possibly, but there does not seem to be much evidence that the EU is especially slow by global standards. And even if the UK is quicker the advantage may only be a for a year or two. And the UK has to roll over tens of free trade deals and hundreds of other trade related agreements just to stand still.

    better deals: the argument here seems to be that despite not having the negotiating weight of the EU the UK will be able to strike “better” deals more tuned to the UK’s needs. Again not a lot of evidence that I have seen that EU deals are not suited to the UK. Brexiters claim that “services” would be be better covered in UK only trade deals but again no actual examples of how ( and a tendency to ignore the fact that services by their nature are more difficult to conclude deals on).

    ending protectionism: again seems to ignore the EU’s track record in concluding free trade deals ( and always ignores the EU’s treatment of developing countries which generally enjoy tariff free access to the EU). And this also doesn’t address whether “the people” want UK industry and agriculture to be “unprotected’ and also conflicts .

    So I think we are still waiting for the Brexiters to actually provide hard, detailed and compelling arguments of how this “trade dividend” is going to earned.

  39. @BILL

    Wandsworth has 60 councillors (20 wards with 3 each), currently 39 Tory, 19 Labour, 2 elected as Tories who became independents and one of whom is now Renew’s first councillor.
    They are counting overnight and one of my staff, who’s doing the count, is hoping it goes on till at least 4am, in which case he will get the next day off!

    I’m on leave Friday as I intend to watch the results come in overnight – how many other UKPRers are doing likewise?

  40. Garg 11.46


  41. Sorry Garj

  42. @garj

    Ah the precious union or rather precious England. Well at least you are honest although superficial in your understanding of Northern Ireland ( it must be a necessary condition of being a Brexiter – don’t bother saying you voted for remain).

    You might want to inform yourself a bit more about Switzerland as well if you are adamant about not being part of the Single Market ( and in Schengen).

  43. @ Alec

    Not sure I can agree with you on those IHT proposals. You have probably studied the ins and outs more than I have but for me the topline figures are replacing a 40% tax with a 20% tax during your lifetime and 30% tax on the rest. This seems to be a “regressive tax” (although obviously TOH would call it progressive!) compared to the current 40%.

    IHT is in my humble opinion one of the least harmful taxes in that you are being given something that you haven’t earned or had to do anything whatsoever for, you get inheritance simply because of who you were born to. The best thing a parent can do is to give their children the skills and motivation to earn a living for themselves rather than just dump a load of cash in their lap.

    Equally, obviously a parent, who has earned the money, wants to be able to pass this on to their family and this may be to some extent a motivation for them to work hard during their life and the pleasure it will give them to pass some of this on. So it seems to me 40% tax is about right.

    If the issue is about collection rates and avoidance issues we hear this a lot, for example on higher rate tax, that they will find ways of avoiding it and we shrug our shoulders. Maybe we need to start creating a hostile environment for legal tax avoidance to close ALL the loopholes. This would have the additional benefit of improving the country’s lagging productivity issues as we would not have a whole team of lawyers and tax advisors doing work that does not contribute to the net worth of the nation in any respect.

    I do think there should be exemptions (charity donations being a very obvious one) and it may be that some aspects of the exemptions are being abused but if there are good reasons for passing on farmland etc tax free then we need to crack down on the bad reasons so it would need to be a working farm type thing. Rollover relief seems the obvious method for exemptions rather than a complete exemption.

  44. @Shevii

    I don’t agree with Inheritance Tax being increased, I think taking away from individuals ability to pass wealth down the generations is regressive. As we know, a lot of savvy people would just sidestep the regulations in any case, as the very rich already do with Family Trusts etc.

    I do think a focus on Corporate Tax Avoidance through offshoring is required.


    “don’t bother saying you voted for remain”

    But I did vote remain, I thought it the best option at the time, but it doesn’t follow that I want the result of Brexit to be a miserable compromise which is the worst of both worlds. I know that Switzerland is almost as good as part of the single market, but what goods do you actually think will be smuggled across the border? Be specific, and remember that alcohol and tobacco are already subject to differential taxation regimes and are smuggled at present, so remember that they’re not part of the equation. Explain how you think that the customs regime for dealing with those goods will be more onerous than the policing which already exists to deal with smuggling and cross-border crime.

    As for informing ourselves, you might want to look up the Common Travel Area rather than assuming that Schengen is at all relevant.

  46. @ ALEC – We’ve been at the “crunch” point so many times and the can has been kicked. I’ve generally said May needs to face the HoC with the crucial votes and also start implementing Project After (from Oct’17 if note before) but with LE’s being net in “Remainy” areas I hope the Brexit war cabinet kick the can for at least another day!

    However, her procrastinating to date and especially by avoiding HoC votes has had its consequences – specifically emboldening Barnier and HoL to make the chance of a “good” or even “acceptable” deal lower.

    IMHO this means Brussels now see Turkey as the “deal” to force upon us – possibly even the deal that HoC vote for (although May, or her replacement could not accept being the ones to implement that decision).

    Remainers generally seem to want to try to revoke Brexit and remain on the pre Jun’16 terms but put yourself in Barnier/Macron/Juncker/etc shoes – what is the best deal for them?
    a/ allow UK to revoke A50 and remain as if nothing had happened or
    b/ make us take a Turkey deal?

    Are there any Remainers who actually want a Turkey deal or who have actually thought through the deal that Brussels want to force upon us? BINO was bad and polling suggests not popular. Turkey is even worse than BINO, how popular would that be?

    @ SJ, etc – you’re still arguing from a position of Remain as if this was Spring 2016!

    You may have noticed HoL voted against a new ref. If you’d like to talk us through how we will simply “Remain” then please go ahead. Guardian article to help you:
    (you need to get Corbyn on board with a new ref)

    Or if you want take input from the Best for Brussels who have a history of wanting neverendums until they get what they want:
    ““The will of the people can only really be outdone by the will of the people”

    IMHO unless you can get this new ref and then convince people revoke+remain is possible you need to start explaining the merits of a Turkey deal versus the alternative – Leave on an unknown deal versus Remain on a known deal was the debate in 2016, time has moved on!

    I’m actually coming around to the idea May should just keep procrastinating – the ticking clock is starting to move in favour of those (like me) who want to transition to a WTO outcome. HoL and co. are being “useful idiots” via their frustration tactics.

  47. The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has told the government of the impact of Brexit on the processed food and drink industries. There is also a general report about exiting the EU.

    “79.Brexit will bring considerable challenges and change to the UK processed food and drink sector after decades of building supply chains across Europe and enjoying tariff-free trade and free movement of goods to the EU. The sector needs certainty regarding the terms of our future relationship with the EU after the transition period in order to adapt.

    80.Defaulting to WTO tariffs would not be an acceptable outcome for the sector and would seriously jeopardize the competitiveness of UK exports and risk increasing prices for consumers. Negotiating a free trade deal with the EU is the biggest priority for this sector. The Government should also seek to replicate all existing EU trade deals with third countries as they constitute our biggest export destinations.

    81.Ensuring that movement of goods remains substantially unhindered is another imperative for an sector that is characterised by just-in-time delivery and short shelf-life. This is particularly true for the businesses that operate across the UK and Ireland border, where a solution to the hard border problem is yet to be articulated and agreed.

    82.There will be trade opportunities arising from leaving the EU and in the long term, the UK’s trade balance may benefit from diversifying and relying less on the EU as a trading partner. However, the opportunities are both relatively slight and distinctly uncertain, when set against the benefits to the consumer of free access to the current range of products facilitated by conformity with agreed standards. Therefore, at least in the short term, remaining aligned to EU regulation and an influence in EU agencies is key to protecting the competitiveness of UK exports. There are areas in which the UK may benefit from diverging but consumers will not tolerate it leading to lower standards.

    83.The sector is already dealing with a skills gap which is predicted to worsen in the next few years. It will find it very challenging, at least in the short term, to replace the substantial number of EU nationals within its workforce. It is essential for manufacturing, hospitality and R&D that they keep the ability to bring in the skills they need.

    84.More than anything, UK businesses need clarity and certainty about the future of our relationship with the EU. The Government is almost out of time to negotiate an orderly trade system after the transition that will provide businesses with the certainty they need to invest and innovate.”

1 2 3 4