Mark Spencer_MP with FWD Manifesto

The Federation of Wholesale Distributors (FWD) has urged political parties to work with the wholesale sector to help ensure its future.

In its manifesto, launched today, the FWD highlighted the annual turnover of £25.6bn of the sector and how it is a “fundamental part of the UK economy”.

It warned that wholesalers are not immune to the shocks that have been felt right across the economy, with a survey of FWD members revealing a 14% average rise in the cost of buying goods this year, with overall business costs rising by 10%.

It is hoped the manifesto will “kick-start the conversation” on how challenges to the sector can be addressed ahead of the next general election, and offers up deliverable actions focusing on growth, employment, sustainability, communities and the supply chain

FWD CEO James Bielby said: “Wholesalers are the lifeblood of the nation – from supporting high street restaurants to supplying hospitals, schools and local retailers with food, the FWD membership is delivering for the people of the UK, in every region. If we look ahead to the next decade, it’s clear that at home and abroad we are on the cusp of climate transformation, and the food supply chain is central to this. Our manifesto is therefore an open invitation to all in Westminster to work with us to ensure the wholesale sector can play a full and active role in driving future economic prosperity to every region in the UK. I look forward to talking through all of our deliverable policy asks to make the case for the wholesale sector in the weeks and months ahead.”

The manifesto has already received support from some areas of government. Minister for Food, Farming and Fisheries Mark Spencer MP echoed the collaboration message. “For many years, FWD has championed and promoted the interests of food and drink wholesalers within Westminster and Whitehall. I look forward to working with FWD to ensure its members can deliver growth and prosperity to every corner of the UK.”

Shadow Environment Minister, Daniel Zeichner MP added: “FWD is the voice of UK food and drink wholesalers and I congratulate them on the publication of their manifesto today. The document sets out a series of actions to drive forward growth, which Labour will consider carefully as we prepare for a General Election. I look forward to working with FWD and its membership to support and drive forward the wholesale sector in the years ahead.”

The FWD recently criticised the government for a lack of clarity on whether or not business support measures announced in the Autumn Statement would extend to the wholesale sector.