Bulmers-maker warns Lords that Brexit red tape will hurt its business
Drinks group C&C has warned that a change in the trading relationship between Ireland and the UK would lead to increased costs and bureaucracy for its all-island business, in a detailed submission to the House of Lords.
The manufacturer of Bulmers and Finches said that while its Irish and UK businesses have separate sales teams, the supply chain is entirely integrated across both jurisdictions.
In its submission to the House of Lords enquiry into the impact of the Brexit vote on the UK and Ireland, the Dublin-headquartered company said the change posed could impact on the livelihood of its suppliers in the UK.
The submission notes that the company buys around 80,000 tonnes of apples every year to make cider, with 70,000 from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
"Apple-growing is a marginal agricultural activity, it is not in the remit of wealthy farmers. We have long-term relationships often stretching back generations with our apple growers," it said in the submission.
"If Brexit reduces our ability to source apples from the UK in order to press them in Ireland then hundreds of the farmers will be adversely affected. We would still be able to source apple juice for our cider, either from other parts of the EU or internationally, but farmers in the UK would be badly affected.
"It is worth emphasising that farming for apples in the UK tends to be in remote regions where there are limited other employment options, for these farmers it is essential that the free movement of raw materials is maintained."
The submission states that the current free movement of people between Ireland and the UK has allowed business to prosper and jobs to be protected.
"In order to secure the best possible future for all of our stakeholders, from the farmers in the southwest of England, to our employees and customers, we need the options for future trade relations between the UK and Ireland to be very carefully examined."