PM: Brexit Could Batter Britain's Booze Trade
Britain’s booze trade will suffer a hangover if the UK quits the European Union, David Cameron is claiming.
The Prime Minister says jobs and investment in the wine and spirits industry will be threatened if the UK has to renegotiate international deals on alcohol sales.
But his warning coincides with a new opinion poll suggesting the Leave campaign has a two point leave over Remain, which will surely leave Mr Cameron wanting a stiff drink.
The poll, by ICM, suggests support for leaving the EU is now 43% and support for remaining 41%, even though bookmakers are betting heavily on a vote to stay in the EU.
Mr Cameron claims almost 600,000 jobs in the UK alcohol industry will be safer if the UK votes to stay in the EU, since the wine and spirits industry made £1.8bn in EU exports last year.
The Prime Minister also says the UK’s booming alcohol industry makes hundreds of millions a year from 35 free trade deals struck by the EU with more than 50 countries
No 10 is highlighting a survey by the Wine and Spirit Trade Association that found 90% of respondents want the UK to stay in the European Union.
“Britain will be stronger, safer and better off in a reformed Europe than out on our own, because we will have full participation in the free trade area, bringing jobs, investment, lower prices and financial security,” says Mr Cameron.
“That means real certainty so you can plan for the future.
“On the other hand, those who want to leave Europe can’t tell you if British businesses would be able to access Europe’s free trade area; or if your job is safe, how much your prices would rise, how much your mortgage would be at risk, or if the funding for your local school or hospital is secure.
“They are offering you risk at a time of uncertainty. It is a leap in the dark.”
The PM’s intervention was toasted by James McGrory of Britain Stronger In Europe, who said: “We should raise a glass to the UK’s booming drinks industry – one of the many sectors made stronger by our place in Europe.
“It would be bad news to call time on Britain’s membership of the single market which supports jobs, growth and low prices for Brits here at home.”
But Matthew Elliott, of Vote Leave, said: “Remain campaigners are desperate to do Britain down and are ignoring the fact that the EU has made drinks for Brits more expensive.
“We are the fifth largest economy in the world and should be able to sell whisky freely from Birmingham to Bombay, yet our EU membership prevents us from striking free trade deals with vitally important markets.
“If we vote leave and take back control then our trade will prosper – something both drinkers and exporters can raise a glass to.”