The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has questioned whether the lack of support and interest towards wholesalers from the government compared to supermarkets is deliberate in order to move the food and drink industry towards a monopoly.
Chief executive James Bielby explained that once the family-owned regional wholesalers have gone, the supermarkets will be there to pick up the pieces and has called the difference in support between the two ‘incredible’.
“The supermarkets have had billions in business rates relief, retail grants, extended opening hours, competition law wavers, and preferential treatment by brands – at a time of record sales and profits!,” he said. “Not to mention how they were gifted the wholesale trade on school food parcels by the Department for Education u-turn as Boris Johnson chased good headlines after a Twitter storm. government by press release, costing wholesale jobs.”
“What about Brexit? Supermarkets can now jump the queue at Dover and they can move food freely from GB to NI – unlike any wholesalers. And what have wholesalers had? Zip. Nada. Zilch. No business rates relief, no grants, no compensation for stock losses created by the Government’s flip-flopping on Covid-19 measures. Nothing, no help while trading a loss to supply schools, hospitals, care homes. Hospitality closed. Sales down 80%. Thousands of jobs gone,” Bielby exclaimed.
Food Minister Victoria Prentis was recently questioned about the impact this is having on wholesale by the House of Commons Efra Committee to which she replied that she is aware that wholesalers do not feel as if they have been included in the HM Treasury support schemes, but added how it is probably too early to talk about financial compensation.