Wholesalers have been betrayed – Goldney

Unitas Wholesale Managing Director Darren Goldney has accused the government of “betraying” food and drink wholesalers during the coronavirus crisis.

Goldney has written an open letter to the government pointing out the lack of financial support given to wholesalers in comparison to other industries as a failing on the government’s behalf and how billions have been spent “in the wrong places”.

The letter has raised that while big multiples have received  financial relief, wholesalers supplying hospitality venues haven’t received anything, despite all of their business disappearing almost overnight when restrictions were put in place in March.

“Please explain how it can be right that multiple retailers, such as Tesco, Asda and friends are reportedly receiving up to £3 billion in business-rate relief from tax payers, while in many cases managing huge sales increases,” Goldney’s letter states.

“Meanwhile, food and drink wholesalers supplying hundreds of thousands of independent small business whose sales disappeared overnight after instructions to close, have received zero support.

“We were told you’d stand by UK businesses but this support seems highly selective. You must act.”

Goldney says the lack of action so far is tantamount to betrayal, even if it’s not been done deliberately.

And with the Unitas chief pointing to an initial wave of redundancies among the 17o independent wholesalers his buying group represents last week, he says more could be on the horizon.

This week we’ve seen the first flow of job losses because the business-rate relief you’ve granted, sometimes needlessly for ‘the rich and the growing’ has not been given to where it was needed and where it would save jobs and businesses,” Goldney’s letter continues. 

“As a result, there’s no breathing space afforded as our independent, often family owned, wholesalers work with outlets to reignite hospitality from July onward. No matter how we do this, sales won’t return quickly but will eventually. 

“Heartbreaking decisions are forcing people out of jobs and this could be avoided by recognising the elephant in the room. You’ve spent far too much in the wrong place but two wrongs do not make a right. Give wholesalers the same business-rates relief as you have others.”

Asda coronavirus covid-19 Darren Goldney Foodservice Government Tesco Unitas wholesale wholesaler