SWA calls for more funding for wholesalers

Colin Smith

Ahead of the Chancellor’s economic statement today (8 July 2020), wholesalers in Scotland are calling on Rishi Sunak to extend business rates relief to the wholesale sector to bring it into line with its customers in tourism and hospitality.

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) is also calling for an extension to the furlough scheme to secure jobs which are under threat and a VAT cut to stimulate the wider hospitality, tourism and leisure industry.

The industry group highlighted that despite many food and drink wholesalers losing as much as 90% of their business overnight when lockdown was introduced, they received no rates relief.

SWA boss Colin Smith (pictured) said: “While we’ve managed to help some of our members secure lifeline grant support from the Scottish Government’s Pivotal Enterprise Resilience Fund scheme, or their local council, the majority of food and drink wholesalers have received nothing.”

Smith said the hospitality, tourism and leisure industry was a “critical sector” for SWA members.

He added: “The reopening of outlets – welcome as it is – won’t be enough to sustain the wholesale channel so we need action to stimulate the economy generally as well as targeted support for our members over the long term on what will remain a very challenging and difficult road to recovery.”

Smith thanked MSPs and MPs who wrote to the Chancellor on behalf of SWA wholesalers within their constituencies asking for rates relief and further support for the wholesale sector.

He said: “We hope he takes action immediately given the key role wholesalers play within their local communities, the tourism and hospitality supply chain, and the wider Scottish economy.”