Industry sets out Brexit hopes and fears

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Dairy UK, the representative body of the UK dairy industry, today published the “White Paper” report for 2017 which details the ‘game changing’ opportunities and challenges which the industry is facing over issues such as Brexit and consumer confidence in dairy foods.

Dairy UK said Brexit is the most defining issue the industry has faced for generations and the White Paper identifies what Brexit needs to deliver to safeguard the future interests of an industry that employs more than 70,000 people and has an overall turnover of nearly £28 billion.

The White Paper reveals that the Northern Ireland dairy industry is a key factor addressing Brexit.

Dairy UK says:

l The Northern Ireland border issue should be resolved by creating a frictionless and seamless border regime that could be a blueprint for future arrangements with the EU.

l Failure to achieve a soft border will create uncertainty around the ability of the dairy industry in Northern Ireland to continue to operate successfully as it does currently.

Paul Vernon, chairman of Dairy UK, said: “Brexit is a monumental challenge and game changing. If Brexit is successfully delivered there is tremendous potential in terms of exports and product development. If it is a failure, there will be consequences for dairy.

“No effort can be spared by the industry, the UK government and the EU to secure a positive outcome and we will continue to give every assistance to the government to make that happen.

“Ensuring greatest possible continuity of existing arrangements is particularly important for the dairy industry in Northern Ireland which is heavily reliant on exports to the EU, of both raw milk to the Republic and sales of product to the rest of the EU.”

In 2015 dairy exports from Northern Ireland were estimated to be £154m (second in market value only to GB) representing approximately 15% of total sales of the NI dairy industry. The value of exports from RoI to NI was estimated at £61.6m.

Dr. Judith Bryans, chief executive of Dairy UK, added: “The White Paper demonstrates that consumers’ love for dairy remains very strong and we have to ensure we are equipped and ready to continue to help feed the nation for generations to come.”