UK coatings industry welcomes political certainty, but concerns remain over regulatory divergence with the EU

17 December 2019

Following the result of the UK’s general election, the British Coatings Federation (BCF) has expressed relief over the apparent political stability from Boris Johnson’s 80 seat majority.

However, the association for paint, printing inks and wallcoverings still has doubts over the future of chemical regulations in the UK, and concerns of "no deal" potentially raising its head again.

The Prime Minister’s Brexit deal does contain some reassurances with its free trade agreement but allows for regulatory divergence.

The coatings industry has major concerns over UK REACH and this message was clear from BCF member survey in September, where 90% of members fear having a duplicate set of chemical regulations in the UK.

Concerns around uncertainty due to Brexit in the last few months have been reflected in the latest industry statistics, with, for example, decorative paint sales down 2.8% over the last three months.

However, now the future direction of the country is clearer, BCF hopes for a bounce back in the economy, assuming a no deal Brexit is avoided.

Tom Bowtell, Chief Executive of the British Coatings Federation, said:"The Prime Minister’s new deal foresees a free trade agreement with the EU and removes some of the commitments to regulatory alignment for chemicals that were in the previous Theresa May deal.

"For our sector, the new deal from Boris Johnson is far from "Oven Ready”, given the complexity of the integrated chemicals supply chain and centralised registration system which we will be losing.

"However, the industry will find a way to adapt and cope with whatever new trading environment we are faced with – how much that supports UK manufacturing is another matter, but we will continue to have a constructive dialogue with civil servants and new politicians, to ensure the best outcome for our sector.”

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