Food: Wholesale Trade

Treasury written question – answered on 15th June 2020.

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Photo of Kate Hollern Kate Hollern Shadow Minister (Housing, Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to extend eligibility for the Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant to food and drink wholesalers that supply to care homes, hospitals and schools.

Photo of Kemi Badenoch Kemi Badenoch The Exchequer Secretary

The Government recognises that this is a very challenging time for businesses in a wide variety of sectors. Small businesses occupying properties for retail, hospitality or leisure purposes are likely to be particularly affected by COVID-19 due to their reliance on customer footfall, and the fact that they are less likely than larger businesses to have sufficient cash reserves to meet their high fixed property-related costs. The Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Grant Fund (RHLGF) is intended to help small businesses in this situation.

Local Authorities (LAs) can choose to make discretionary grants to businesses in supply chains, like the wholesale food and drink sector, if they feel there is a particular local economic need. The Government has allocated up to an additional £617 million to LAs to enable them to give discretionary grants. While food and drink wholesalers are not one of the priority groups which Government has asked LAs to focus on, LAs may choose to make payments to businesses outside of these priority groups if they feel there is a local economic need to do so, so long as the business was trading on 11th March, and has not received any other cash grant funded by central Government (with the exception of grants from the SEISS).

Small businesses which are not eligible for business grants should still be able to benefit from other elements of the Government’s unprecedented package of support. The Business Support website provides further information about how businesses can access the support that has been made available, who is eligible, when the schemes open and how to apply - https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder.

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