Nestlé has “real concerns” about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit – but says it will stay in York “for many more decades to come”.
A spokesman for Nestlé said the company is calling for a Brexit deal that will maintain “frictionless trade” and added if Britain leaves the EU without a formal arrangement, it will create “major challenges” for the confectionery industry.
But he said Nestlé, which is based off Haxby Road and employs about 2,000 staff, intends to remain in the city whatever the outcome.
Cllr Janet Looker said she feared the company could leave York at a meeting of City of York Council’s executive on Thursday night.
While discussing council plans for a no-deal Brexit, she said:
We have one very significant European employer, Nestlé, and they are being very quiet at the moment about what they might do should a no-deal Brexit occur, but I think that is something we have to take on board.
There could be a very real risk that they will, like other international employers, decide that actually it’s not worth remaining here because of the complications of their trade with Europe.
I know Nestlé are not saying anything and I wouldn’t want to put thoughts in their minds but I think it’s something again that we need to take into account.
But a Nestlé spokesman responding to the comments said the city is “incredibly important” to the company, adding: “We have been at the heart of York for over a century and Nestlé has invested more than half a billion pounds into the city over the last three decades.
“It is an incredibly important site for our business and we intend to be here for many more decades to come whatever the outcome of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
“Nevertheless, the prospect of a no-deal Brexit is a real concern for us and businesses like ours.
“There is no doubt that it would present major challenges for our industry. Instead, we want the UK to achieve a smooth withdrawal from the EU that maintains frictionless trade.”