FWD responds to budget

Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor, delivered the Spring Budget today (6th March). The Federation of Wholesale Distributors responds to the issues affecting the wholesale sector

• Vaping Levy:

The levy plays an important role in reducing the accessibility of vapes for young people. Increases in duty rates, will, however, have implications for the illicit market and its knock-on effects for revenue lost by the Exchequer. The government must therefore also focus resources on enforcement activity to remove criminals from trading in illicit and non-duty paid goods.

• Fuel Duty:

A freeze to fuel duty for another 12 months is welcome, this will go some way to relieving the eye-watering costs wholesalers currently face. However, the government must provide further support for businesses across the transport sector in the face of the high cost of doing business.

• Alcohol and Tobacco Duty:

FWD members are large alcohol and tobacco excise duty payers, both directly and indirectly. We welcome the freeze in alcohol duty until 1 February 2025, this freeze is essential to combat rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis. The government must ensure the decision to end the Alcohol Duty Stamps Scheme does not drive duty fraud, which the stamps were brought in to prevent. FWD will be working closely with HMRC to maintain action on the illicit trade.

• Public Sector Funding:

The squeeze on public spending from the Public Sector Productivity Programme is likely to result in reduced budgets for public sector food, which will be to the detriment of both wholesalers and people being fed in education, hospital, and care settings. Wholesalers are struggling with rising costs and public sector budgets should be adjusted to account for this.

• Net Zero:

We welcome the announcements to allocate £2 billion to bolster British automotive manufacturers on their path to net zero. The diverse funding package will be instrumental in supporting the decarbonisation of businesses nationwide, and we specifically welcome the targeted support for the automotive industry and the zero-emission automotive transition. While we are grateful for the support provided, it’s evident that we need a more comprehensive approach which considers infrastructure, skills and provides long-term clarity to business through well-defined roadmaps and strategies. The commitment of FWD and its members to achieving net zero targets by 2040 remains resolute; nevertheless, realising this ambitious goal requires stronger and more strategic support from the Government.

• Business Rates Support:

The Government have consistently missed wholesalers out of business rates support, fundamentally misunderstanding how the supply chain works. Wholesalers must be included in the package announced by the Chancellor today.

FWD Jeremy Hunt Spring Budget