The Automatic Vending Association (AVA) – the trade body representing the vending industry in the UK – has called on the UK government to provide renewed and further support to vending operators to help them survive the pandemic, with the association warning that one in five jobs in the sector could be at risk.
The AVA has written a letter to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, calling for urgent support for operators and their direct supply chain to continue their work.
Measures called for by the AVA include an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) for hospitality businesses and specifically vending companies, or an increase in the level of Government support to the Job Support Scheme beyond the current 22%, purely for the hospitality and foodservice industry.
The AVA has also asked the government to consider an additional financial grant to cover the percentage of lost revenue during the crisis, or the removal of employer’s National Insurance and employee pension payments, with an increased contribution towards paying people to work.
According to the AVA, since the initial lockdown in March, vending operators have suffered a significant drop in business. As many UK employees were directed to work from home where they could, turnover plummeted to an average of 34% of its previous level, and over 60% of workers in the sector were furloughed.
David Llewellyn, the AVA’s chief executive, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the hospitality industry, but it is vital that vending is not forgotten.
“The impact may not be as immediately obvious on out of home and foodservice industries such as vending, but as the government advises people to stay at home and places more restrictions on movement, without support, our industry will be damaged further.
“We are calling for urgent support from the government to help vending companies and the direct supply chain, to ensure that we can navigate this pandemic and our members can continue to operate throughout, and into the future.”
The full letter can be found here.
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