SWA calls for financial support package to include wholesalers

Colin Smith: ‘Unless a proper supply chain support package is put in place for all of those affected, thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses will be lost.’

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that the financial support package announced in light of new temporary restrictions covers food and drink wholesalers, as well as the hospitality businesses affected.

Colin Smith, SWA chief executive, said: “We recognise the difficulties the Scottish Government faces and that it is trying to balance public health with the need to support the Scottish economy, but the most impacted businesses yet again are those operating in the hospitality and the wholesale supply chain which directly supports them.

“The temporary hospitality closure in the central belt and the restrictions across Scotland will have a massive impact on pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafés.”

From 6pm on Friday 8 October to Sunday 25 October, in Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley, all licensed premises – with the exception of hotels for residents – will be required to close indoors and outdoors, though takeaways will be permitted. Cafés that don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to stay open until 6pm.

In all other areas of Scotland, pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés will be able to operate indoors from 6am to 6pm for the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks only. They can continue to serve alcohol outdoors up to the existing curfew time of 10pm. Hotel restaurants will be able to operate beyond 6pm, but only for residents and without alcohol.

“While we welcome that businesses have been listened to based on the Scottish Government’s decision not to close the hospitality sector across the country totally, wholesale businesses are still being subjected to death by a thousand cuts,” said Smith.

He reiterated a call by the SWA last month that any new phase of financial support for the hospitality and tourism sectors includes food and drink wholesalers and other businesses in the hospitality supply chain.

He said: “We welcome the announcement of a £40 million support package and that the Scottish Government will consult urgently on the details in the next few days. Unless a proper supply chain support package is put in place for all of those affected, thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses will be lost.”

Scotland’s foodservice wholesalers lost, on average, 81% of their business when the Coronavirus pandemic closed hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses in March. “Unlike hospitality and retail, local wholesalers were excluded from business rates relief and other financial support, and were forgotten about,” Smith said. “The Scottish Government must not let that happen again.”

Tel: Scottish Wholesale Association 0131-556 8753



Published Date: October 7, 2020
Category: Wholesale Industry News