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Government petition launched to support wholesale agents and distributors

By Huw Hughes

Jun 4, 2020

A London fashion agency has launched a petition urging the government to extend the business rates grants and holidays available for retailers to include wholesale agents and distributors.

Currently, sales agents and distributors - who are typically self-employed or directors drawing dividends - do not qualify for the same level of support as many of the retailers they supply.

The petition, launched by The Morris Fyfe Agency in Brick Lane, east London, is hoping to change that.

So far, signatories include London-based Double H Agency, Love Brands, Jonny Drama, Just A Group, FOF Fashion Marketing and Brand Machine Group, and Manchester-based agency Red Alert.

Daniel Morris, co-founder of The Morris Fyfe Agency, said he supports the 12-month business rates holiday, but wants to see the same for wholesale agents and distributors who he said are currently “paying the price in terms of reduced income from retailer cancellations, discounts and delays.”

The business rates holiday was announced by the government in March as one of several measures to help companies manage the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“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,” Morris said in a press release.

He continued: “We’re not eligible for the 12-month rates holiday, or the 25,000 pound 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 pounds because my rateable value is above 15,000 pounds. The only logical next step has been to launch the government petition.”

Photo credit: Kai Pilger, Pexels