The Foodservice Equipment Association has met with the shadow minister and called for Labour to back the foodservice industry as it tries to emerge from the coronavirus.
FEA chief executive Keith Warren took part in a round table discussion last week hosted by Lucy Powell MP, shadow minister for business and consumers.
She brought leading organisations from the hospitality sector together to discuss the current support schemes and how to pressure government to act.
Other delegates at the roundtable included Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UK Hospitality, Peter Ducker, chief executive of the Institute of Hospitality, Tom Stainer, chief executive of CAMRA and Steve Alton, chief executive of the British Institute of Innkeeping.
Mr Warren reiterated the case for aligning support for the foodservice equipment supply industry with the hospitality sector as a whole, matching business rate grants and the extended furlough scheme, as well as repealing the apprentice levy.
In addition, he raised several new ideas. These included financial support to continue R&D in the equipment supply chain, so that the industry can come out of the lockdown in the strongest possible state – and in a position to deliver maximum benefit to foodservice operators.
He also detailed how this could be funded.
As the meeting ended, Mr Warren called for the Labour party to unite behind the whole foodservice industry – operators, food and beverage suppliers and equipment suppliers – to represent its collective voice to government, and to ministers to account “on behalf of us all”.
He said: “This was a very positive meeting and there is now real impetus behind the campaign to ensure the government understands and responds to the needs both of the hospitality industry as a whole and to the supply chain – including foodservice equipment suppliers.”
The meeting with the shadow minister follows FEA’s direct lobbying of government, including letters to the prime minister in conjunction with Ceda.
Recently Gareth Bacon MP took up the FEA call and has written a personal letter to Alok Sharma, the business secretary and responsible cabinet member, on the foodservice equipment industry’s behalf.