An FWD programme of activity to engage more closely with MPs and give them a clearer understanding of the wholesale sector has kicked off with a visit by Clive Betts MP to the Parfetts cash and carry depot in his Sheffield constituency.
The visit came as the FWD published a new public affairs strategy intended to raise the industry’s profile with key decision makers, and announced it is in the process of setting up an All Party Wholesale Group of MPs to raise the profile of FWD issues among Parliamentarians.
Dan Rogerson, the Liberal Democrat MP for North Cornwall, has agreed to chair the group, and the next stage will be to enlist MPs and Lords from all parties.
FWD chief executive James Bielby said the FWD had increased its contacts with MPs over the last year as it campaigned on issues such as duty fraud, and the decision to set up the group was one of the outcomes.
Betts visit was the first of a series for MPs being organised by the FWD. Betts was shown around the site by executive chairman Steve Parfett, who together with Bielby also briefed the MP on issues of importance to wholesalers.
“As an industry we need to engage more with the government and work together to tackle the issues that we face,” Parfett said. “It is imperative that MPs get a better insight into how our industry works in order to understand how government decisions and legislation impacts on us as wholesalers and our customers.
Bielby added: “There’s no better way to engage with members of Parliament than to show them first hand what our members do and the pressures they face. Forging a close relationship with your MP not only helps with local issues, but also provides the opportunity to influence their thinking on policy issues which affect the entire sector.”
For more on the FWD’s public affairs strategy see pages 6 and 14.