The new measures introduced by the government have been welcomed by the Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD), although its chief executive James Bielby believes they still fall short of the support needed for the channel
“We welcome the measures announced today, such as the subsidy to support those in part-time work and the VAT cut extension,” he explained, “but they still fall short of the support required for the wholesale sector, which is critical to the food supply chain, public service infrastructure and the UK economy. Without business rates relief the sector faces widespread redundancies, which will have disastrous knock-on effects for the entire hospitality sector and food supply in the UK.”
The government will now continue to top up the wages of workers who have not been able to return to the workplace full time due to the virus. Named the Jobs Support Scheme, it will see workers get up to 77% of their normal salaries for half a year with the aim fo stopping mass job cuts.
It was also announced that businesses that have borrowed money through the government’s loan scheme will now be given more time to repay it back, whilst the VAT cut from 20% to 5% for hospitality will be extended until March.
Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association echoed the FWD’s thoughts: “Without having full details, our initial view is that the Chancellor’s introduction of a Jobs Support Scheme and the extension of other initiatives to help businesses are not as far-reaching as we needed – we are very disappointed.”
“It must be recognised that the Jobs Support Scheme is significantly less generous then the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It is designed to back ‘viable jobs’ – and with the latest restrictions on our pubs and bars, many jobs in our sector will be unviable. It is also not clear at the moment how the scheme will be implemented,” he added.