The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) is looking forward to working with the Government to push for a comprehensive trade deal after Brexit, following the 2019 election result in which the Conservative party gained a Commons majority of 79, whilst the Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) has called for the Brexit process to now be conducted in a way that allows businesses to operate with minimum disruption.
Chief executive James Bielby explained that the FWD has set out a number of policy priorities for the next administration in its election manifesto: “Now that there is a clear majority in Parliament, we encourage the new Government to show restraint on National Living Wage increases and to take forward further measures to tackle alcohol duty fraud and sugar tax evasion.”
- Read more: FWD issues election manifesto
He also said that the FWD will be working to ensure the Government maintains the current exemption for distributors around packaging, without which the members would see cost increases of up to 300%. “We are also campaigning for a mandatory allergens database to guarantee consumers access to full and accurate information on the potentially harmful ingredients in the food they purchase.” He added. “We look forward to working with the new administration on these priorities and actively championing the wide economic contribution of wholesale in Parliament.”
Meanwhile, SWA chief exective Coin Smith has called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to put business first and push for a frictionless trade deal after Brexit with minimum tariffs or trade barriers. “Following a long period of political uncertainty, we want to see our members and the wider wholesale sector invest for the future and prioritise long-term growth. It is crucial that the Government works with our industry – our members, many of them independent businesses, support other independent businesses, public services and provide a lifeline to remote and island areas.”
“We urge the Government to provide a level playing field that allows our members to grow, supports local workforces and communities, and helps them work in partnership with customers and suppliers to create a healthy wholesale sector with a long-term future,” explained Smith.
The SWA chief also urged the UK Government to take on board the implications of National Living Wage increases while calling for further measures to tackle alcohol duty fraud and sugar tax evasion. He also called on the Government to review its manifesto pledge on introducing a deposit return scheme.
Smith also explained that the SWA would continue to work closely with the Scottish Government and congratulated First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the SNP’s landslide victory in Scotland.