Press Release

The country’s top manufacturing exporter has this morning (16 January) spoken about the House of Commons rejection of the negotiated Brexit deal.

Steve Elliott, Chief Executive of the Chemical Industries Association, said “There is of course general business disappointment with the current position. We continue to lack the certainty that business has called for since the day after the 2016 referendum, in order that investment decisions can be made.”

On the impact of the vote, Steve said:

“Parliament has spoken. Whether we like it or not, what happened last night was a political process as part of a democracy. It is not for businesses to interfere in that process. What we can and what we have responsibility to do, is to advise of the consequences, and those consequences – in terms of contingency plans and actions - are becoming more and more critical as we get closer to our 29 March exit from the EU. Every delay risks either no decision on UK investment, trade and jobs or, worse than that, irreversible decisions.”  

On next steps he said:

“What we now need, and we have needed from the very start, is for MP’s of all parties to work together on behalf of the country to identify common ground and the basis of ‘plan B’ so that when the Prime Minister reports on Monday we can be confident there will be a majority view on securing a deal. The need for a negotiated deal remains and gets more urgent by the day - as does the need to avoid a ‘no deal’ outcome.”

On the chemical sector working together across Europe Steve said:

“In the chemical sector - across the regions of the UK where employment is most needed and throughout the EU27 - we continue to call for minimal disruption. The whole industry is seeking frictionless free trade, regulatory consistency and access to skilled people. These priorities remain key to our ability to deliver the employment and environmental progress for society that only we can.” 

On working with Government and MP’s Steve concluded:

“UK chemical businesses and our key stakeholders – from trade unions to NGOs to customers and suppliers - all stand ready over the coming days to help the Government, Parliament and the country to get to a position where we have some much-needed certainty about the future.”



For further information, please contact Simon Marsh on 07951 389197 or [email protected].

  • The chemical and pharmaceutical industry adds £18 billion of value to the UK economy every year from total annual turnover of £50 billion.
  • In addition to gross value added, the sector also contributes to the UK economy in its position at the head of many supply chains within manufacturing and its employment of a well remunerated, high-skilled workforce. We support 500,000 jobs both directly and indirectly Chemical manufacturing adds £9 billion in gross value added annually and pharmaceutical manufacturing £9 billion.
  • The wider chemical and pharmaceutical sector (manufacturing plus distribution) is the largest exporter of manufactured goods with annual exports of over £50 billion. The export of motor vehicle, trailers and semi-trailers is the sector with next highest exports of £35 billion. Aerospace is £32 billion.
  • 63% of companies in the sector export what they make to the world, the highest proportion of any goods manufacturing sector in the UK economy. 60% of our exports go to the European Union and 75% of our imports and raw materials come from the European Union.
  • The sector’s level of business investment is £4.3 billion, compared to automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion, while the expenditure on research & development is £5.0 billion (automotive £2.7 billion and aerospace £2.1 billion).
  • The products and technologies of the Chemical industry are essential parts of medicines, food & drink, telecommunications, energy-saving, I.T, clothing and much more.
  • For every tonne of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emitted, our products and technologies enable over 2 tonnes of GHG emissions savings.

Media & PR enquiries

For Media enquiries, please contact:

Simon Marsh

07951 389197

[email protected]


Giuliana Loccisano 

 07947 603663

 [email protected]