The Foodservice Equipment Association has written an open letter to the prime minister, Boris Johnson, highlighting the risks of lockdown to the foodservice equipment industry and asking him to take a “pragmatic view” and give financial support.
The letter, which is signed by FEA chief executive Keith Warren, reads: “The recent announcement regarding the closure of a significant proportion of the hospitality industry will be catastrophic for the foodservice equipment supply chain. This includes manufacturers, importers, resellers and service companies who are 100% reliant on the hospitality sector for their income.
“As a result of the first phase lockdown, sales declined by 80% to 90% for the majority of our membership, in what had been a £1.3 billion per annum industry. Foodservice equipment suppliers employ over 10,000 staff who have specific knowledge, expertise and skills which are haemorrhaging from our industry as a result of the shutdown.
“As the foodservice equipment industry is reliant on the hospitality sector for its income, we urge that additional financial support is made available so that it can survive. It’s not only a matter of businesses going under, there is also the fact that the key skills which will be lost, at all points of the supply chain, will be almost impossible to replace.
“The hospitality industry is actively committed to net zero carbon by 2050. Energy efficient catering equipment will play a key role in meeting the target and FEA has developed a four point plan to help the industry achieve it. But it will only be brought about by having the support of a viable foodservice equipment supply chain. Indeed, without a viable catering equipment supply chain, the hospitality industry will face critical problems in the future.”
The FEA has proposed a three-point financial package to support the foodservice equipment industry, which includes:
– 80% salary support for employees.
– Access to support for companies who have not previously used employee support schemes.
– Business rate relief for those foodservice equipment supply chain businesses whose sales to the hospitality industry account for at least 75% of their total sales,
The letter continues: “In order to rebuild the economy it will be essential to have an economically viable and well-resourced infrastructure in all areas. In order to rebuild hospitality it will be essential to have an economically viable foodservice equipment supply chain.
“We hope you will take a pragmatic view of this and support our industry, so that it is able to meet the needs of the recovery and the long-term and sustained viability of the hospitality sector in the UK.”
Mr Warren separately urge any supply chain companies to forward the letter to their MP. “We need to apply as much pressure as possible,” he said.
Copies of the letter can be downloaded from the FEA website.