I’ve not had many dealings with the National Trust, but have always admired the job they are doing in preserving our heritage and their on-going work for conservation and preservation.
However, what has disturbed me of late is getting feedback from quite a few producers, who initially and understandably chuffed to bits getting their produce stocked in National Trust, (NT) properties and shops are now not so pleased. The reason is money or to be precise the new payment terms from the National Trust. I’ve been told that any producer delivering and the invoicing the NT on 15th April would only be paid by the 30th June, that is payment at the end of the month following the invoice, but it may take 10 working days to process the invoice. Gosh how convenient for them.
I’m horrified by this, as I had, naively it now seems, to have this image of the NT as a fair company, on a par with the likes of John Lewis, a business you could trust. Not like one of the big four supermarkets who can make their suppliers literally jump through hoops rather than pay them promptly. If suppliers are forced to wait such a long time for their money, I’m disgusted. I’ll wait to be told my information is wrong and NT pay all their suppliers within 30 days – if not before! Another supplier not impressed with NT is one who has been waiting months, and months and months and months, to get some lines accepted and have been run around in circles, with still no decision.
I also hear of small companies having issues working in National Trust properties with planning delays and people having extended leave with no cover in their absence. Well this is a sad situation but my sympathies is of course to our producers.
I know from our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers how tough their life is and they really don’t need slow payers to add to their worries.
Many visitors come to Wales and to tour a historic house or castle is very much a part of their holiday experience. Whilst doing this they love to shop either for themselves or for a gift to take back home and its here where our Welsh food producers can fit the
bill. A gift of honey, jam, chutney, cheese, local beer or cider makes the perfect present. But if the news I’ve had through is accurate, then I can see many producers having no alternative but to stop supplying the NT and to look for other markets. Now this would be sad, obviously not just for our producers, but for the NT to have thrown away the opportunity to showcase local food from our artisan producers and offer our visitors some home grown treats. Our visitors don’t need to be offered gifts, knick knacks or tat made in China, Japan or Korea, for goodness sake offer them a selection of what is made here in Wales and be proud of that very fact – support our food producers please!!!