The Scottish government has established a new £5 million Scottish Wholesale Food and Drink Resilience Fund.
The sector-specific grant aid aims to help qualifying wholesalers affected by coronavirus restrictions cover fixed costs for a six-month period from October 2020.
“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,” Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing commented.
The fund will be targeted at food and drink wholesalers that sell to hospitality, on-trade or public sector clients who have seen sales fall by 20 per cent or more since March.
“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,” said Colin Smith, chief executive of the SWA.
“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.”
He added that the funding will protect food supplies into 5,000 local convenience stores, alongside hospitals, care homes, prisons and schools.
“While the sector still faces significant challenges, including Brexit, this funding will make a huge difference to the survival of many businesses – potentially giving security of employment to over 6,000 directly employed staff, and hope for public and private sector customers who rely on Scotland’s supply chain,” Smith said.
Noting that £5m won’t necessarily give the full support required by everyone, he said the SWA will be working closely with the government to ensure members get the financial and other business support they need.
Deadline to submit applications to the Fund is Sunday, 12 December.