Stoke & Staffordshire

Potteries fear over EU referendum result and trade

Kiln at Middleport
Image caption The original kiln at Middleport Pottery in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, home of Burleigh China

The organisation which looks after the interests of the ceramics industry has said it urgently needs the government to work with it to allay fears caused by the decision to leave the EU.

The Stoke-on-Trent based British Ceramic Confederation said the Leave outcome was not what the majority of its members wanted.

EU tariffs on tiles and tableware protect UK jobs, the industry said.

But a former business minister called the result a "wonderful opportunity."

Image caption UK ceramics manufacturers employ 6,000 people

The confederation includes various trades involved in the ceramics industry, many of which, such as Burleigh, Churchill, Wade Ceramics and Duchess China, are based in Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire.

Chief executive Dr Laura Cohen said half of UK ceramic sector exports are to the European Union and added that tariffs prevent "Chinese dumping", flooding the market with cheaper products.

Image caption Almost 70% of voters in Stoke-on-Trent voted to leave the EU

"Our members also have benefitted from some recent free trade agreements," she said.

UK ceramics manufacturers employ 20,000 people between them and suppliers are worried, she added.

"We need the government to work with us urgently to find a way to allay these fears and develop a way forward that supports these UK manufacturing businesses, so allowing investment and growth to continue in this sector," she said.

Almost 70% of voters in Stoke-on-Trent elected to leave the EU in Thursday's referendum.

Former business minister Lord Digby Jones has said the result could benefit businesses and that it was an opportunity to enter a global race.

"You have a golden opportunity, Britain is the most globalised country on earth," he said.

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