Inspiring Business by Sharing Success

Speed up Brexit please £500m farming boss

John Shropshire, Chairman of G’s Fresh, a UK based farming enterprise addressed guests at a Food & Agri Dinner where he described how the company had grown to become a £500m enterprise and his views on Brexit and the mechanisation of farming.

G’s fresh company Chairman, John Shropshire was the guest speaker at a dinner for food and agriculture businesses held at the George Hotel in Stamford where he called for the Government to negotiate Brexit more quickly.

Speaking at the event, which was organised by JLT Specialty, Saffrey Champness and Roythorne Solicitors, Mr Shropshire also describes how the consumption of salads in the UK is lower than in other EU countries, yet his Fenlands based business G’s Fresh has grown to turnover to over £500million. He also spoke about a recent visit to his Cambridgeshire farmlands by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Ely-based group employs 7,000 people, half of which are seasonal, and means the G’s seasonal worker payroll is in excess £24m. Mr Shropshire explained that this alone generates £4.6m in direct taxes and an estimated £1.3m in VAT from the £10m that is spent locally by seasonal workers.

Commenting he said,

“I was disappointed with the decision to leave the EU, but now it is done we have a chance to turn this into opportunity by negotiating good supply deals, grants and tariffs. However, this must be done quickly, because protracted negotiations will inevitably lead to business uncertainty and delayed investments which may in turn stall economic growth.”

He added,

“I know Immigration was a huge issue which influenced the voting on Brexit, but at G’s we go to great lengths to ensure our workers make a positive contribution to the UK economy. They come to the UK alone to do a job, and yes, they do save money to send to their families, but we pay them, and in turn they pay UK tax. We provide hostel accommodation for them too, so really there is no impact on local housing and services like schools.”

G’s Fresh was founded in 1952, by John’s Father Guy. Now a third-generation family business, the group specialises in growing salads and vegetables in the UK, USA, Czech Republic, Poland, Spain and Senegal. IT now farms over 13,000 hectares of land and sells 1billion packs of salads and vegetable crops to major UK, Europe and USA supermarket brands.

John concluded,

“To be economically sustainable, farming methods have to continue to be mechanised. This is why it is so important for Brexit to be sorted quickly as this requires huge long-term investment which will only be derived with support from Government grants.”

Mr Shropshire was speaking at the 7th food and agri forum, which are ‘by invitation’ only events organised by JLT Specialty, Saffrey Champness and Roythornes. Previous guest speakers have included Giles Brook, board member of Innocent Smoothies, and Mark Green of Ditton Farms.

The next event will be held later in 2018 and feature another leading figurehead from the food and agriculture sector. For further details contact [email protected]

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