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Plastics sector outlines Brexit concerns ahead of key vote

THE British Plastics Federation (BPF) has revealed concerns from its members about Brexit, just days before the crucial House of Commons vote on Prime Minister Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement with the European Union.

Following a members survey, the BPF said the vast majority of companies in the plastics sector believe ‘no deal’ will have a negative impact on their business and that Brexit will not ultimately benefit their firm.

The biggest Brexit-related concerns are customs and border delays, material supply, tariffs, regulation and labour. Almost half (47%) of plastics companies are in favour of a second EU Referendum, with 21% against and 32% unsure.

The BPF received responses from over 100 senior figures from within the plastics and plastics recycling industries. The survey revealed that two thirds of plastics companies do not expect Brexit to benefit their business, while only 7% of respondents feel it will.

76% of respondents said a no deal Brexit would have a “negative” or “very negative” impact on their business and 53% are making contingency plans in case it occurs. 63% of plastics companies are expecting Brexit to cause “significant disruption” to their supply chain. After Brexit, 66% feel their products will satisfy EU Rules of Origin but almost one-third of companies (28%) were unsure.

21% of plastics companies have lost staff due to Brexit, while a quarter believe it has made recruiting more difficult. 75% said they would prefer to stick with EU regulations, 22% would prefer less regulation and 3% would prefer stronger regulation.

Mike Boswell, president of the BPF’s Brexit task force said, “Brexit remains a deeply divisive issue to this day. But this data shows our industry would clearly prefer to stick with EU regulations and indicates that the benefits of Brexit – from a plastics manufacturer’s or recycler’s perspective – are hard to see at this point in time. I’m sure our industry will remain positive and adapt to future conditions and ultimately thrive. But as an industry that employs over 166,000 people, we hope that the government looks at this data and thinks hard about how it can end ongoing uncertainty for businesses as soon as possible.”

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