For years the FWD has been working away quietly behind the scenes with Government departments on behalf of its members, but its campaigning on wholesale issues has undergone a step change in the past 18 months as was demonstrated last month at the Parliamentary reception. During that time it has kept up its contact with civil servants, not least in regard to combating duty fraud, but in addition it has supplemented that by setting out to engage with the executive the MPs, Lords and ministers who frame the laws that affect FWD members and decide on Government departments’ priorities.
The first step in this campaign involved inviting MPs to visit depots in their constituencies so they could experience them first hand and discuss issues that affected wholesalers and the customers in their depot. That campaign was very successful, and the event at the Houses of Parliament can be traced directly back to it, but the campaign really took off when the FWD created the MSYS awards for retailers showing outstanding commitment to their communities and invited their MPs to present the awards.
Around 50 MPs have taken part and in addition to getting some publicity for themselves for a store their constituents value it has given the FWD the opportunity to discuss with them the supply chain for such shops.
Plans for the All Party Parliamentary Wholesale Group were already well advanced by the time the MSYS campaign kicked in but it has provided a forum for interested MPs to maintain contact with our industry.
Now we have a group of MPs interested in the industry (shouldn’t they all be when it turns over £26.6bn?), perhaps we can look forward to legislation and Government priorities which take the wholesale industry’s needs into account.