Wholesalers are becoming increasingly concerned that the government is prepared to let them fail, according to the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD). Their CEO James Bielby has been warning recently that a continued failure to provide urgent sector-specific support to businesses that supply the shuttered hospitality sector and schools risked creating a supermarket monopoly. They have been campaigning on behalf of its members for support including business rate relief, which was given to the supermarkets, hospitality and retail outlets.
James has stated recently in the press that many FWD members believed the government was deliberately withholding support from smaller regional businesses, which are currently trading at a loss having burnt through reserves to supply care homes, hospitals, prisons and key workers’ children. He added the consequences for jobs, diversity of supply and consumer choice was “devastating”.
“As the government refuses to help anyone other than supermarkets, it’s not surprising that many up and down the supply chain believe it’s a deliberate policy decision to let businesses fail, in the knowledge that the supermarkets will be there to pick up the pieces,” he said.
“The longer the Treasury ignores wholesale, the more believable this becomes. The government have one aim in food supply: to keep the supermarket shelves stocked and every policy from Covid restrictions to Brexit preparations has been introduced with this in mind. Everything else is secondary.”
The FWD has also drawn attention to policy decisions that it said favoured supermarkets. The trade body said the decision to take the provision of free school meals away from small regional suppliers and relaunch the national voucher scheme in the wake of the Chartwells scandal this month was “a final kick to an industry already on its knees”.
We wanted to hear direct from James to gain the current update and to understand what can be done to stop this negative situation.
Hear and see James be interviewed by Max MacGillivray of Beanstalk by clicking on the image below or listen to the Podcast by clicking the Podcast Icon.
To find out more on the workings or to join the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, click their link – www.fwd.co.uk
Filmed 11th Feb 2021
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