The food and drink industry is being crippled by red tape and high taxation, according to findings from more than 70 leading suppliers revealed exclusively to The Grocer this week.

The report by leading accountants Grant Thornton for the FDF also calls for a package of economic measures to support UK exports and improve training.

The survey, including detailed interviews with 20 of the UK’s leading food and drink CEOs, reveals huge frustration at the barriers to growth. The report claims lack of education and training of the workforce is second only to soaring commodity prices and overall access to raw materials as the biggest threat to the industry.

Taxation is viewed as the biggest area in which the government could do more to help, with 50% of corporates and 23% of SMEs saying tax breaks and incentives are the number one priority for action.

“There is no real incentive to be based here with the 50% tax rate,” says one company boss in the report. “It’s world leading tax rates that discourage decision makers from moving to the UK and who can do the same job whether based in the UK, China or India.”

Next week the FDF will also launch a “ground-breaking” initiative with the government. It claims to have convinced ministers more needs to be done to support the sector. It is understood the set of proposals will include a commitment from ministers from both the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and Defra to back initiatives to boost exports, improve the workforce and slash red tape.