Scottish Wholesale Association secures £15m of funding support for wholesale sector

The Scottish Wholesale Association has welcomed an announcement by Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy Kate Forbes that an additional £10 million is to be made available to support the food and drink wholesale sector as it recovers from the pandemic.

This is on top of the £5 million dedicated funding for wholesale announced by the Scottish Government last December as part of the £8 million supply chain funding from its £100 million Omicron business support package.

It is expected that a new round of the Scottish Food and Drink Wholesale Resilience Fund will go live on Friday. This will be similar to the first fund launched in December 2020 when the SWA first secured £5 million for the sector.

Colin Smith, SWA chief executive, said that this additional support for wholesale comes as a direct result of the association’s ongoing commitment to its members and ongoing dialogue with the Scottish Government to ensure that wholesalers affected by coronavirus get the financial support they need.

“Wholesalers haven’t received the same benefits as many other businesses such as rates relief or strategic framework grants over the pasts year,” he said. “The SWA highlighted this anomaly and the real hardship faced by many wholesalers to the Scottish Government. So this latest, dedicated funding recognises the key role that wholesalers play in the food and drink supply chain, including the supply into schools and hospitals.

“We’re delighted that the Finance Secretary has accepted our calls for further support,” he added. “We have worked hard to build an excellent relationship with Scottish Government officials and helped them to understand the importance of wholesale to local economies across Scotland where our industry is a key employer.

“What the SWA team has achieved is unmatched anywhere else in the UK, with the Scottish Government targeting nearly £23 million for wholesalers over the last two years. We know this funding will be a lifeline for many wholesalers and we’re delighted that the Government has acknowledged the important work undertaken in the food and drink supply chain and by Scotland’s wholesalers.”

Mr Smith continued: “Our members are slowly recovering from the latest variant but there is still a long way to go.

“We thank ministers and officials for working with us to tailor a fund to the needs of our sector and look forward to continued engagement with them to ensure Scotland’s wholesale sector recovers and keeps the wheels to the food and drink industry moving.”