The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has launched a petition asking the Government to grant food and drink wholesalers bespoke financial support: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/574623
The petition says: “Food and drink wholesalers are crucial to supplying hospitals, care homes and schools and are a lifeline for vulnerable communities. They are also integral to the post-pandemic economic restart. Despite this, they have been excluded from much Government support and face sector-wide closures.
“Pre-COVID-19, wholesalers supplied 330,000 foodservice businesses and 72,000 grocery stores, and local high streets. They supported 1.4 million jobs; more than the next five biggest supermarkets. Given their importance for the public sector, and the entire hospitality industry, wholesalers will be intrinsic to Britain’s economic restart.
“Government has chosen to exclude them from much support. This must change. Bespoke financial support packages must be offered by Government now.”
The petition had attracted 875 signatures within 24 hours of its launch; 10,000 signatures are needed for the Government to respond to the petition.
FWD chief executive James Bielby commented: “In a few weeks’ time the Government is going to ask the UK’s foodservice wholesalers to reopen the hospitality sector. It will need them to stock up in advance so that restaurants, pubs, cafés and leisure facilities can come out of hibernation and revive the out-of-home economy. But that won’t be possible unless the Treasury invests in food distribution.
“Having had no Government support through nearly a year of lockdowns and restrictions, and having traded at a loss all that time to supply hospitals, care homes and schools, these wholesalers have no money left and some are on the brink of collapse. With no cash or credit insurance, they can’t buy the food the Government wants them to distribute or provide the service and support their customers will need as they return.
“There’s no way back for hospitality without its wholesalers, and there’s no hospitality wholesalers without immediate support.”