Brexit debate raises concern for the hospitality industry
This week at the London Wine Fair industry professionals have been debating Brexit. Of course, the UK’s wine exports to Europe are minuscule and so Brexit has little concern for UK wine producers. However the UK imports around £2 billion of wine. While it is unlikely that Europe will get in the way of this trade, the UK exports a similar amount of whisky to Europe so a trade war would be as painful for both parties if it happened. Moving to WTO trade tariffs under the Tory premise that “no deal is better than a bad deal” is less an issue for the drinks sector than others, with WTO tariffs on wine and spirits being tiny and unlikely to affect business. The concern for many in the drinks sector is that much of the hospitality sector is staffed by immigrants. Limiting immigration to the tens of thousands could have a devastating effect on wine retailing, restaurants and the 170,000 people employed in this sector.