Nov 30th, 2020
5 mins

The British Frozen Food Federation has called for food manufacturers supplying the hospitality and foodservice market to be given extra government support when the current lockdown ends on 2 December.

The Federation says these businesses need continued long-term support in the form of business rate relief and more flexibility about paying NIC contributions and VAT payments to HMRC.

Chief executive, Richard Harrow, said: “The second English national lockdown, plus restrictions in the UK’s other nations, have been devastating for our members supplying the out of home market and they are facing a bleak winter.

“The news that most of England will be in Tiers 2 and 3 after 2 December, means that most of England’s hospitality is effectively closed.”

He added: “Whilst there has rightly been a great deal of coverage of the plight of pubs, restaurants and cafes, little attention has been paid to the businesses that supply them.

“Many of the ‘squeezed middle’ are often successful family owned SMEs, supplying the hospitality and foodservice sectors, and are now facing collapse. Support for this important sector is vital to ensure they continue to manufacture and supply world leading products, making the market so dynamic and vibrant. Their continued existence will be critical as the economy starts to recover.”

He added: “Those businesses in the ‘squeezed middle’ have not been given the same level of Government assistance as the businesses they supply, despite being as hard hit by the restrictions.”

This is the second time in a matter of months that the BFFF has highlighted the plight of members. In June, the Federation was one of over 20 organisations from across the ‘farm-to-fork’ supply chain to warn that food and drink suppliers to the hospitality and foodservice sector were being over-looked by government.

At the time the group issued a report that said that the level of support available to the ‘squeezed middle’ was poorly focused and would not deliver the recovery plan following the first nationwide lockdown. The report: Maintaining Post-Covid-19 Capacity in Hospitality and Food Service Supply Chain Businesses – ‘The Squeezed Middle’ was produced by the FDF-convened Food and Drink Industry Roundtable.

Mr Harrow continued: “Our members were able to get back on their feet during the summer, but the current restrictions have once again floored them. They have not been given the same level of Government assistance as the businesses they supply, despite being as hard hit by the current restrictions.

“The Government needs to ensure that targeted support is provided to ensure these companies survive the winter and are able to bounce back, when the economy starts to recover in 2021 with the roll out of vaccination.”


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