Lush moves production to Europe following Brexit vote

Says referendum shows EU staff 'aren't wanted'

Updated: 
A Lush store

Cosmetics chain Lush is planning to shift much of its production to Europe, following the Brexit vote.

The company employs around 1,400 people in Poole, of whom around a third don't have British citizenship: director Hilary Jones tells Reuters that Poole simply isn't big enough to supply enough local workers for the plant.

And the foreign staff, says founder and chief executive Mark Constantine, spend around £4.6 million locally on food, leisure and housing, including around £700,000 in council tax.

However, in the referendum, 58% of people in Poole voted to leave the EU - and this, Constantine tells the Bournemouth Daily Echo, shows overseas staff that they're 'not wanted by people in Poole'.

Jobs may or may not be lost at the site, as the company will continue producing products for the UK market there. However, international production will be moved to Dusseldorf, and staff given the chance to relocate.

The company had been considering moving some production there before the vote, but now will make the move on a much bigger scale.

Constantine said that his wife and co-founder Mo had cried after the referendum result. He added that David Cameron's resignation, and the withdrawal of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove from the leadership race meant that those responsible had 'absconded'.

"Even before the vote, when we were asking the tough questions, nobody seemed to have answers of what Brexit would mean. There didn't seem to be a plan," says Jones.

"We're on a rollercoaster, and we're certainly on it with the rest of the country, but luckily for us we've also got footholds elsewhere. God help those companies that haven't."

Poole isn't the only area that voted Leave to now see jobs starting to go. Last week Forterra, one of Britain's biggest brick makers, announced that it was to mothball its plants in Accrington and Claughton in Lancashire. The two towns voted to leave with a majority of 66% and 63% respectively.

But jobs are likely to disappear across the country, with research from the Boston Consulting Group indicating that up to 80,000 banking and finance jobs could be moved from London to other centres in Europe - 20% of the total.

According to some estimates, as many as half a million jobs could be lost across the UK by the end of the decade.

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