Scottish Wholesale Association calls for Government to support job cuts in hospitality sector

0

The Scottish Wholesale Association (SWA) is urging the Scottish Government to ensure that their financial support package covers food and drink wholesalers and those in the hospitality sector.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday that all bars and restaurants within central Scotland, including Edinburgh and Glasgow must close by 6pm tomorrow (Friday, 10th October) to curb the countries rising coronavirus cases.

Care packages for hospitality workers were announced in light of the new temporary restrictions to help support those businesses affected.

Colin Smith, SWA chief executive, said: “We recognise the difficulties the Scottish Government faces and that it is trying to balance public health with the need to support the Scottish economy but the most impacted businesses yet again are those operating in the hospitality and the wholesale supply chain which directly supports them.

“The temporary hospitality closure in the central belt and the restrictions across Scotland will have a massive impact on pubs, restaurants, hotels and cafes.

“While we welcome that businesses have been listened to based on the Scottish Government’s decision not to close the hospitality sector across the country totally, wholesale businesses are still being subjected to death by a thousand cuts.”

Mr Smith reiterated a call by his organisation last month that any new phase of financial support for the hospitality and tourism sectors includes food and drink wholesalers and other businesses in the hospitality supply chain.

He said: “We welcome the announcement of a £40 million support package and that the Scottish Government will consult urgently on the details in the next few days. Unless a proper supply chain support package is put in place for all of those affected, thousands of jobs and hundreds of businesses will be lost.

“Some may potentially reopen if Christmas goes ahead but more than likely many will remain closed until there is a guarantee of footfall that allows a sustainable and longer-term reopening.”

Scotland’s foodservice wholesalers lost, on average, 81% of their business when coronavirus closed hospitality, tourism and leisure businesses in March. “Unlike hospitality and retail, including major supermarkets making huge profits, local wholesalers were excluded from business rates relief and other financial support, and were forgotten about,” Mr Smith said.

“The Scottish Government must not let that happen again.” Mr Smith said.

Scotland’s wholesalers supply food and drink to around 5,000 convenience stores, schools, prisons, hospitals and several hospitality business.