Bakery associations warn government food prices will rise without EU workers

A number of bakery associations are among a list of 30 food representatives that have signed an open letter calling on the government to reassure EU workers about their right to work in the UK.

James Smith, president of the Association of Bakery Ingredient Manufacturers, George Polson, director of the Federation of Bakers and Alex Waugh, director of the National Association of British and Irish Millers all backed the open letter.

They argued that a significant element in the industry’s ability to deliver affordable and high-quality food is the part played by workers from the European Union, with some of these people already leaving the UK in the wake of the referendum result and the devaluation of the pound.

The bakery associations called on the government to offer “unambiguous reassurance” about their right to remain.

“Workers from the EU, some of whom are already leaving the UK, play a significant role in delivering affordable and high-quality food and drink,” the letter said.

“For the longer term, it is important to recognise that these workers are highly flexible and provide an essential reservoir of skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled labour.”

The letter also outlined that nearly four million people in the UK are employed in everything from harvesting to production to selling food and drink. In food manufacturing just under a third of workers are from the EU.

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