Conservative MP James Wharton paid a visit to a Batleys depot in Stockton-on-Tees as part of an FWD initiative to make parliamentarians aware of the contribution wholesalers make in their constituencies.
Wharton met staff and customers at the Stockton branch, which supplies and supports around 3000 small retail and foodservice businesses in the area as well as employing more than 100 people itself.
General manager Dave Bolam showed him around the site and discussed issues such as the illicit trade in alcohol and tobacco and theft of stock. They were accompanied by FWD chief executive James Bielby who explained how FWD members support independent businesses and provide choice and value to consumers.
Wharton, whose constituency is home to several FWD members’ depots, said: “Wholesale distribution employs hundreds of people in Stockton South and is a key part of the supply chain. They do a great job of offering value and service. It is important government understands the specific needs of this segment of the market and I was delighted to get to see first hand the excellent work at Batleys.”
Bielby added: “This visit is one of several taking place over the months before the election in May next year. By taking MPs into depots, we can show them how vital a service wholesalers provide at a local level, but it’s also a chance to engage them in ensuring that our sector is not overlooked when formulating policy and legislation.
“We have a great story to tell about the value of wholesalers to the economic and social health of the UK, and the best way to tell that story is to take MPs into our members’ branches and demonstrate that value at first hand,” he added.