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    Labour victory presents challenges and opportunities for wholesale channel, says Unitas MD

    LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Labour Leader Keir Starmer celebrates winning the 2024 General Election with a speech at Tate Modern on July 05, 2024 in London, England. Labour is on course to win a landslide victory in the 2024 General Election. Starmer addresses the nation promising Country first, Party second. (Photo by Ricky Vigil/Getty Images)

    Following the Labour Party’s electoral victory, John Kinney, managing director of Unitas Wholesale, has responded to the potential impact of the party’s manifesto on the wholesale sector.

    Kinney highlighted several challenges outlined in the Labour manifesto, including increases in the Minimum Wage, a ban on the sale of energy drinks to under-16s, restrictions on fast food outlets near schools, and potential controls on high in fat, salt, and sugar (HFSS) products and ultra-processed foods.

    “Independent wholesalers’ ask of this brand-new administration is that it listens to those of us who can help turn these pledges into effective measures that achieve their stated aims,” Kinney said.

    Labour victory presents challenges and opportunities for wholesale channel, says Unitas MD
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    While expressing support for the government’s objectives of better pay for low-income workers, healthier food options for children, and meaningful sustainability targets, he asked the new government to “lay out a legislative programme that is effective, practical and proportionate.”

    Kinney pointed to the delays in implementing Deposit Return Schemes for drink containers as a cautionary example of the consequences when the government acts without sufficient consultation with industry stakeholders. Conversely, he highlighted the success of the Soft Drinks Industry Levy, attributing its effectiveness to extensive collaboration, practical choices, and achievable timeframes.

    “We would like the government’s proposals to be evidence-based and economically viable to implement, and not to unfairly penalise our members and their customers,” he said.

    “Unitas Wholesale is the biggest wholesale group, representing a significant proportion of food and drink sales into retail, foodservice, on trade and the public sector. Our members are good at innovation and change, they react and adapt quickly and their voices should be heard.”

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