The Automatic Vending Association (AVA) – the trade body representing the vending industry in the UK – has claimed that many members have had applications for support rejected by local authorities across England, with the association calling on authorities to provide greater support to the vending industry in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the AVA, members have “experienced resistance when seeking help from local authorities”, despite the allocation of specific funds in the form of ‘Additional Restrictions Grants’ – which are intended to support businesses that have been impacted by closures in the leisure and hospitality sector.
A statement from the association claims that there has been “a reluctance” from local authorities across England to release this allocated funding.
According to data provided by the AVA, local authorities have released a total of £267.5 million of the allocated £1.13 billion, 23.7% of the total allocated fund. The AVA claims that Bracknell Forest Council has released 0.2% of its available funding, while the Borough of Haringey in London and Southampton City Council have reportedly released 0.4% of available funding.
The call to support the vending industry comes as two-thirds of vending operators have reported reduced turnover due to the pandemic, with some losing all revenue completely. The AVA has warned that the impact of the pandemic could put up to one-in-five jobs in the sector at risk.
Chief executive of the AVA, David Llewellyn, said: “Specific funding has been allocated by the government to businesses which have been impacted by Covid-19. However, time and time again our members, many of whom are facing significant loss of revenues, are having their applications for support rejected.
“Frankly, the numbers are shocking. Local authorities across the country need to think long and hard about their motivations and start helping those people who work in affected services such as ours.
“Vending operators, whose workers have been classed as essential keyworkers, need the support now or many of them simply won’t be around when workplaces, leisure centres and retail reopen. We’re calling on local authorities to act now, before it’s too late.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020
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