Walpole seeks a pro-business Brexit
Walpole, the official sector body for British luxury and its 210 member companies, has sought a pro-business Brexit, asking the government to unite around and safeguard the future success of an industry that contributes £32.2 billion to the UK economy and exports £25 billion to overseas markets. Walpole was founded in 1992 as a not-for-profit organisation.
Walpole CEO, Helen Brocklebank said, "We urge the government, once famous for being the party of business, to deliver a pro-enterprise Brexit, enabling our members to protect jobs in the UK and continue to promote Brand Britain around the world."
British luxury brands are world-renowned as the standard bearers for excellence, ambassadors of quality, exemplifying the best of Britain to a global audience. Moreover, British luxury brands are committed to keeping their companies UK-based, despite the risks to their businesses of a hard Brexit or a no-deal Brexit. Luxury is the only sector in the economy for which it is customer critical to manufacture and produce in the UK, and British luxury businesses employ over 110,000 people in long-term, sustainable and regional jobs throughout the whole of the British Isles.
Brocklebank added: "Britain's luxury companies are passionate about their country. Their Britishness is a fundamental part of their customer appeal and these businesses are proud of their role in making Brand Britain famous around the world. However, for the small or medium businesses and entrepreneurs, the ramifications of a hard Brexit could be ruinous and poses a risk to the country's prosperity and the value of Brand Britain."
Michael Ward, chairman of Walpole and managing director Harrods said: "The Government's ambiguity over Brexit is stifling the British luxury industry; putting our small and medium-size enterprises, the backbone of the luxury goods sector, most at risk. Ongoing uncertainty around future trade restrictions, subsequent currency fluctuations and potential supply chain vulnerability mean businesses from across the luxury sector, from globally recognised brands to start-ups, are unable to plan for the future."
"We encourage the government to commit to a deal that enables tariff and customs free-trade with our European neighbours to ensure we can receive and export necessary goods freely, while also allowing us to make the most of huge growth potential overseas. British luxury is a true global success story, and this cannot be jeopardised in the long-term through obfuscation."
Speaking on behalf of luxury leather goods manufacturer, Ettinger, CEO, Robert Ettinger added: "A no free trade agreement would mean the nightmare scenario of a doubling of duties and delays in importing materials and exporting finished goods."
Katie Goldblatt, executive director of luxury brand Rapport added: "Walking away empty-handed from negotiations would deliver a risky and expensive blow to our business. Increased tariffs and obstacles to trade through customs procedures and higher compliance costs would be onerous, Europe is a significant export market and we are worried about the prospect of new barriers to trade, either from tariffs or the costs of any moves by Britain to set its own industry standards and rules."
On behalf of luxury food retailers Marc Demarquette, founder of Demarquette Chocolates, commented: "With perishability at stake a no deal Brexit would cripple our suppliers and hamper our ability to deliver products to consumers. A quick, fatal outcome." (SV)
Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India