Wholesale to be heard at energy crisis special inquiry

In order to examine the impact of the energy crisis on the food and drink supply chain in the UK, there will be a special inquiry session held on 19 October 2022 by The Food and Drink Supply Chain All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG)

FWD will feed into the session, along with the Association of Convenience Stores, National Farmers Union, British Soft Drinks Association and others in the food and drink supply chain.

The session will explore the impact of the current energy crisis and how it can potentially impact consumers and businesses across the UK, and critically, what will happen after the government’s six-month package of support expires.

“The food and drink supply chain is both a vital lifeline and a heavy user of energy,” said James Bielby, Chief Executive, FWD.

“Wholesalers should be at the very top of government’s agenda when further support measures for business are introduced, as the Prime Minister has said will happen after the current six-month scheme expires. The APPG, which FWD encouraged MPs to set up, has identified this as a critical area for its scrutiny.

“We are encouraging all our members to contribute to the call for evidence. It’s very important that wholesalers’ voices are heard in this discussion, and that their concerns are communicated to the highest level of government – something which the APPG is well placed to do on their behalf.”

While thousands of food and drink businesses may have been saved from closure this winter by the Energy Bill Relief Scheme, significant questions remain over the details, feasibility, and sustainability of government policy.

Sharon Hodgson, Interim Chair of the Food and Drink Supply Chain APPG, said: “This forum will enable us to understand the short- and medium-term effects the energy crisis is having on businesses, what steps we as policymakers can take to alleviate the worst of the situation, and how we can build a stronger, more resilient supply chain in the future.”

How wholesalers can feed into this

The APPG has issued a Call for Evidence to gather information from businesses throughout the supply chain.

  • Have your energy bills, or the bills of organisations you represent, risen in the past six months and if so, by how much?
  • What percentage of your total business operating costs does this increase now represent?
  • If you hedge your energy, are you currently being impacted by the rising costs?
  • How are rising costs impacting your business or your sector? (e.g. recruitment freezes, closure of facilities etc.)
  • How are you, or those you represent, managing the volatility and uncertainty of price – are you able to factor this into the business decisions you are making?
  • What impact will these rising energy costs have on customers? Will you be required to pass on the costs or are you able to absorb them?
  • What mitigations are you or organisations in your sector implementing in order to alleviate the impact of the rising costs?
  • Are you exploring alternative sources of energy in order to mitigate rising costs?
  • Do you believe that the costs being alleviated by government policy will be sufficient? What would you like to see from the government by way of intervention, both in the short term and also in the medium and long term?
  • What will happen to your sector if you are not supported with energy bills after the initial six months’ cap?
  • Should the food and drink supply chain be considered energy intensive?

Submit your evidence by email to: APPG-FDSCUK@dentonsglobaladvisors.com

All Party Parliamentary Group on the Food and Drink Supply Chain energy Energy Bill Relief Scheme FWD Government inquiry James Bielby Sharon Hodgson