Ian Wright CBE, chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), has welcomed the news that Theresa May will remove the £65 fee EU citizens were going to have to pay to secure the right to continue living in the UK after Brexit.

On 21st January, the Prime Minister announced that there will be no fee when the EU Settlement Scheme opens fully on 30th March 2019.

Anyone who has applied already, or who applies and pays a fee during the test phases, will have their fee refunded.

Wright commented: “We welcome the announcement that the Government is planning on scrapping the fee associated with the EU Settlement Scheme.

“The food and drink manufacturing industry employs 117,000 highly valued EU workers, making up almost a third of our workforce, and their contribution to our sector is vital.

“FDF was one of the first trade organisations to call for certainty for EU nationals and this is an encouraging development.

“Further work is now needed to make sure the right to stay and the Settlement Scheme is swiftly and effectively communicated to eligible EU citizens wishing to stay in the UK and that employers are provided with the tools needed to support their workforce.”

Wright continued to explain that while elements of the Prime Minister’s statement are to be welcomed, the ongoing lack of certainty for businesses about immediate and longer-term relationships with trading partners continues to ‘undermine business confidence’.