Suffolk food company chiefs discuss Brexit strategy with minister

From left, Phil Bamford of Muntons, Rick Sheepshanks of Stokes Sauces, Stephen Britt of Suffolk Cham

From left, Phil Bamford of Muntons, Rick Sheepshanks of Stokes Sauces, Stephen Britt of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce, Lord Bridges of Headley MBE, Barry Chevallier Guild of Aspall Cyder and Oliver Paul of Suffolk Food Hall. - Credit: Archant

A delegation of Suffolk food producers yesterday had the chance to put questions to one of the ministers responsible for the UK’s “Brexit” strategy.

Lord Bridges of Headley MBE, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, met with around a dozen company bosses together with representatives from Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Over a working lunch, with much of the food and drink sourced from Suffolk-based producers, Lord Bridges heard from local firms about what they need to manage the transition and seize the opportunities to boost international trade.

Lord Bridges said: “There is a strong spirit of enterprise in the East of England where 86,000 small businesses have set up since 2010.

“We’re working to make sure that spirit is fostered and build a new relationship with the EU that works for businesses in Suffolk.”

Stephen Britt, a Suffolk Chamber of Commerce board member, said: “This was a very open and productive meeting, allowing some of Suffolk’s leading employers in the food, drink and agriculture sectors to openly talk about the opportunities and challenges surrounding the country’s withdrawal from the European Union.”

Chris Starkie, managing director of New Anglia LEP, said: “We are working closely with partners to gather feedback on the current and potential future economic impact of Brexit and we have been able to share some of that intelligence today.”

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John Dugmore, Suffolk Chamber chief executive, added: “We welcome the fact that Lord Bridges took time out of his busy schedule to meet with us and our members.”