The FWD believes the spread of Covid-19 and the UK’s imminent departure from the EU overshadow this year’s budget and will dictate how effective the Chancellor’s support for wholesalers and their customers will be.
Chief Executive James Bielby explained that the freeze on fuel duty, investment in infrastructure, and business rates support are very welcome. “The Chancellor has listened to hauliers who use refrigerated transport and delayed a tax on red diesel for two years.”
“Other measures, including the rise in the National Living Wage and the introduction of a plastic tax, will potentially have major consequences for wholesale and FWD will be working closely with Government on how far and how fast changes are implemented,” he added.
Meanwhile, SWA chief executive Colin Smith has welcomed the Chancellor’s additional funding for health and business in the face of Covid-19 and we welcome the First Minister’s confirmation that the consequentials will be passed on to support Scottish businesses at a very challenging time.
“We welcome the Chancellor’s support for the food and drink sector, including the duty freeze on alcohol and fuel plus the underwriting of SSP but it’s clear that the coronavirus is having a very significant impact on our customers in the hospitality, retail and leisure sectors as well as on wholesale businesses which are now making contingency plans,” he said.
The UK Budget included the following for Scotland:
-£640 million in additional funding for the Scottish Government
-A significant package of support for the Scotch whisky industry, including a freeze on spirits duty, and £10 million research and development funding to decarbonise the distilling process
-A £1 million GREAT campaign to promote the Scottish food and drink sector, including Scotch
-Plans to rollout gigabit capable broadband to the hardest-to-reach areas of Scotland and increasing 4G coverage in Scotland from 42% to 74%.