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Wholesale Trade: Coronavirus

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 138473, tabled on 15 January 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what estimate he has made of the level of excess stock accumulated by wholesalers as a result of (a) covid-19 restrictions, (b) the UK leaving the EU and (c) the changes to Christmas 2020 covid-19 lockdown restrictions; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

25 January 2021

We are aware of the challenges faced by the wholesale sector, and the foodservice wholesale sector in particular, due to Covid-19 restrictions, including the closure of hospitality venues and schools. Officials in Defra have been working closely with the wholesale sector to understand the scale of the challenge and to ensure the Government is aware of the impact, including the implication of excess stock. We will continue to assess the support needs of the food industry to inform policy, both in response to the increased spread of Covid-19 and the beginning of our new trading relationship with the EU.

The Government has made a range of support available to wholesalers including (but not limited to) the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, the Bounce Back Loan Scheme, and eligibility to apply for support from the Additional Restrictions Grant. In addition, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme enables wholesalers to furlough staff, and this scheme will now remain open until the end of April 2021.