British Ceramic Confederation open letter to MPs with ceramic manufacturing sites in their constituency
20th November 2018
Dear Members of Parliament,
I am writing on behalf of Britain’s ceramic manufacturing industry to urge you to support the EU withdrawal agreement proposed by the Prime Minister, when it is put to a Parliamentary vote next month.
The British ceramic industry directly employs over 22,500 people across the country and supports many more jobs within the supply chain. We make clay construction products that build British houses. We make the technical ceramics that supply innovative British industries like aviation and automotive. We make the iconic tableware and giftware that conveys quintessential Britishness to consumers around the globe. As the officers of the APPG for Ceramics have been at pains to point out over recent months ceramic manufacturing has an economic impact equivalent to the UK fishing industry, yet is too often taken for granted.
For the last 18 months we’ve been concentrating on making Brexit work for our members. As active exporters, we’ve pushed for continued frictionless access to the European Union - the destination for over 50% of our export sales. As a trade sensitive industry, we’ve called for alignment with the EU on trade remedies to ensure a level playing field. As an energy intensive industry, we’ve lobbied for continued energy security through collaboration with EEA countries.
Like most industries we’ve cautioned against unnecessary regulatory divergence and, most importantly, the risks posed by “cliff edges”. Leaving the EU without an agreement is the ultimate precipice. The disruption it would cause our industry, let alone the turmoil it would create in the wider economic environment in which we operate is unconscionable.
The deal negotiated by the Prime Minister delivers, for an implementation period at least, much of what we have been asking for in terms of continuity on energy and trade policy. Vitally, it is a step back from a disastrous no deal cliff edge. It buys more time for the UK Government to find a satisfactory permanent settlement with the EU. It provides a period of much needed certainty for ceramic manufacturers. With only 130 days until the UK leaves the European Union it’s the time for pragmatism to prevail, and for the Prime Minister’s compromise to receive broad support.
On behalf of our small but important industry, our jobs, and the investment we provide, I’d urge you to look beyond ideological positions on Europe, any leadership speculation and your party affiliations to support the Prime Minister’s proposed EU withdrawal agreement.
Dr Laura Cohen MBE, Chief Executive
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