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New fund

Food and drink wholesalers handed £5m lifeline

Colin Smith

Colin Smith: ‘This funding will make a huge difference’

Scottish food and drink wholesalers have been handed a £5 million lifeline to help cover fixed costs associated with the pandemic.

This sector-specific grant aid follows months of lobbying by the Scottish Wholesale Association and will help those who have lost up to 95% of their food service income.

The fund will be targeted at those who sell to hospitality, on-trade or public sector clients and have seen sales fall by 20% or more since March.

It is intended to cover the shortfall in revenue and fixed operating costs such as business rates, rent, loan repayments, utilities and insurance as well as specific costs such as the loss of stock.

Colin Smith, chief executive of the Scottish Wholesale Association, said: “The Scottish Wholesale Association is delighted that food and drink wholesalers, who are the ‘wheels to Scotland’s food and drink industry’, have been given this vital lifeline.

“This support package will help secure many family businesses and SMEs across the length and breadth of the country – some having lost up to 95% of their income.

“While the sector still faces significant challenges, as many of our hospitality and tourism customers remain closed or restricted, this funding will make a huge difference to the survival of many SWA members, protecting food supplies into our 5,000 local convenience stores but especially into our hospitals, care homes, prisons and schools.”

He added: “The Scottish Government has done more than any other UK government by recognising the key role that food and drink wholesalers play in the supply chain and in delivering this wholesale sector-specific fund.”

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: “We recognise that many food and drink wholesalers have lost huge amounts of business almost overnight, in addition to suffering stock loss and other costs as a result of their customers closing.

“This is affecting the long-term viability of these previously profitable businesses, so we’ve worked closely with the Scottish Wholesale Association to target this funding specifically at those that need it most and help them get through a tough winter.”

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