The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA) has launched a campaign telling Westminster: ‘Don’t bottle it’, leaving Britain with a “totally unacceptable” no deal scenario when the Government’s Brexit deal comes to Parliament.

The #NoToNoDeal ‘Don’t Bottle It’ campaign continues to push the WSTA’s belief that ‘no deal’ must be ruled out as “the worst possible outcome”, whether by design or default.

Since the Referendum, the WSTA has campaigned consistently for a deal that delivers frictionless trade in goods, sufficient labour supply and a transition period that lasts until at least 2020. It is also calling for “the most ambitious Free Trade Agreement (FTA) ever” with the EU before the end of the transition period, as well as “very ambitious” FTAs with other countries. 

Chief executive, Miles Beale, said: “The UK wine and spirit industry is a world leading £50bn industry which does half of its trade with the EU.  

“With the launch of our ‘Don’t Bottle It’ campaign, our message to Parliament is that ‘no deal’ is totally unacceptable. It would fail to deliver what we have asked for consistently since the Referendum and there is now simply not enough time to prepare for a ‘no deal’ Brexit without causing serious damage to UK businesses. As we have said since the Referendum, the clock is ticking, and it has now all but run down.

“Despite the businesses we represent putting in place contingency measures as best they can, a ‘no deal’ Brexit presents a multitude of difficulties which are outside of their control. Leaving the EU without a deal would result in chaos and inflict painful damage on these businesses. 

“We are calling on Parliament to ensure the UK does not leave the EU without a deal on 29 March 2019 – #NoToNoDeal.”

As part of the campaign, the WSTA is urging wine and spirit businesses to write to their MP, telling them that a ‘no deal’ Brexit scenario is unacceptable and that were the UK to leave the EU without a deal, their businesses would suffer as a result.

The WSTA has also launched www.dontbottleit.co.uk, which sets out why passing a deal with the EU is so crucial to the prospects of the UK’s wine and spirits industry.

It said that crashing out of the EU with a no deal scenario would cause delays at the border, restrict movement of people, exacerbate significant cashflow challenges for businesses and create “massive uncertainty” for both businesses and consumers.