WSTA condemns Chancellor over no deal ‘ostrich’ comment

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has earned the wrath of the Wine & Spirit Trade Association after accusing companies that haven’t prepared for a no deal Brexit of an “ostrich in the sand” approach.

Speaking at Treasury questions in the House of Commons today, Hammond said: “Despite government’s attempts to engage with business there are still far too many businesses who have adopted the famous approach of the ostrich in the sand in relation to this eventuality and they are not taking precautionary actions to prepare for the possibility of a no deal exit.”

WSTA chief executive Miles Beale described the Chancellor’s remarks as “downright insulting”.

He said: “The government is pointing the finger at everyone but itself.

“Blaming businesses for not preparing is downright insulting, especially when they are expected to spend time and money with no clarity or confidence in the outcome.

“With just three days to go before the UK could be forced to leave the EU without a deal, many of our questions to government are still met with ‘we don’t know’ and new advice on how to manage a no-deal Brexit is too little, too late.

“Civil servants are listening and working hard to try and advise businesses, but government has led us to a cliff edge without a parachute.

“After well over a year of patience, businesses deserve a clear roadmap to plan for the future trading landscape.”