A UK fashion agency has launched a petition calling for the government’s business rates grants and holidays for retail companies to be extended to include wholesale agents and distributors.
Daniel Morris, co-founder of The Morris Fyfe Agency in London, launched the online petition to help wholesale agents and distributors, whose businesses do not currently qualify for the support available from central or local government for retailers, although they may have been equally affected by the coronavirus lockdown.
Daniel said: “We fully support the government business rates 12-month holiday for retailers, and only ask to be treated the same as we are part of the same supply chain and therefore paying the price in terms of reduced income from retailer cancellations, discounts and delays.
“We believe that the government doesn’t really understand and recognise the role we play in getting goods to market and how we are recompensed. My petition is saying that we are directly related to retail and should be considered in the same bracket.
“With buyers furloughed, offices shut and those people working doing so from home, those of us with retail showrooms are experiencing a similar impact to retailers. In fact, you could claim it’s worse, as we don’t sell through websites. We can’t just walk away from our showrooms, so they are staying full of samples with no visitors.
“We’re not eligible for the 12-month rates holiday or the £25,000 grant for ratepayers in the retail, hospitality, tourism and leisure sectors because we’re not classed as retail, and I can’t get the small business grant funding of £10,000 because my rateable value is above £15,000.
“The only logical next step has been to launch the government petition.”