The FWD, and supportive MPs and lords who have formed a group within the Houses of Parliament, have been praised for their work by a Government minister.
The comments were made by Jim Paice, minister for agriculture and food, during his keynote address at an event to mark the formation of the All Party Parliamentary Wholesale Group of MPs and lords.
It took place at the Houses of Parliament on October 25 and was attended by around 120 people including MPs, lords, leaders of the wholesale industry and their suppliers, and was hosted by Dan Rogerson MP, who chairs the All Party Group.
In his address Jim Paice said a government emergency simulation exercise he had been involved with had impressed on him how important the wholesale sector is. He added: “Without you guys in the middle the food supplies just wouldn’t get through.”
He concluded: “I congratulate Dan and his colleagues, and the FWD for working with them, in forming this group. My best wishes to your sector and to everybody who works in the distribution chain because you are all part and parcel of a very important part of the British economy and you have huge potential for growth and that is what we are trying to encourage.”
Chris Etherington, managing director of Palmer and Harvey and chairman of the FWD, said: “Our industry often doesn’t get the credit it deserves and it’s good to know we now have a group of MPs to help fight our corner.”
He said the FWD was looking forward to working with Parliament on a range of issues including alcohol duty fraud, freeing up transport, crime against members and their customers, and added: “We support the Government’s aim for a low-carbon economy and our members have taken significant steps in recent years to lower emissions. We’re also reducing packaging waste and recycling more than ever; and we’d like to see the Government set out a clear, realistic roadmap to achieving its objective of a ‘zero waste’ economy as well.”
Dan Rogerson explained the purpose of the group saying it brings MPs from all parties together to discuss issues affecting the industry “not in the hard lobbying sense but just so there is a greater understanding among members of Parliament, and to engage with Government to articulate those concerns”. He said the group would also encourage MPs to meet businesses in their constituencies.