Waitrose Chief Operating Executive Officer Sir Harvey Milfington has warned that the UK’s decision to leave the European Union could mean the end of their incredibly popular free tea and coffee promotion in stores. According to the outspoken boss of the John Lewis-owned supermarket, there will be huge financial implications for the scheme when the withdrawal is finalised. 

Sir Harvey said: ‘We are only able to provide customers with one free tea or coffee per day with significant funding from the European Communal Market Refreshment Subsidy, or the ECMRS. This fund was established in Brussels in 1999 as a means of providing all EU member states with financial assistance to provide hot drinks to people who fit into the socio-economic grouping that sits between ‘royalty’ and ‘readers of The Sun,’ and without this support the MyWaitrose promotion could become too expensive to maintain. As it stands, the board of Waitrose is holding a number of emergency meetings on the issue, but let me make one thing perfectly clear – all options are on the table and are being considered, no matter how harsh the realities may be.’

He added: ‘If the free tea and coffee scheme does continue, we may be able to fund it with an internal 25p levy on organic raspberries. Alternatively, we may be able to make cost savings on the tea, coffee and milk by purchasing these from Lidl or Aldi in bulk. Whatever happens, we want to reassure all customers that free copies of the Daily Mail will continue to be provided when spending more than £5 during the week or more than £10 at the weekend – we are aware of the anarchy that would follow if we cut this perk.’