Wholesalers fear corporate tariffs will ease ‘zip code lottery’

Frustrated wholesalers fear the new £ 1.5bn business rate relief fund could turn into a ‘postcode lottery’, as part of the government’s latest confirmed plans to distribute the tax relief.

The Treasury told The Grocer this week that local authorities should set up their own “ relief programs ” to distribute relief to eligible businesses.

A similar strategy was used for the distribution of the Additional Restriction Grants, which allowed some wholesalers to receive hundreds of thousands of pounds of aid, while other operations of a similar size in different locations received little. or no support.

Wholesalers are also unhappy with the wait for the relief, which was announced in March and was only tabled in parliament this week.

“It will turn into a zip code lottery when the money is finally available,” said Harvest Fine Foods CEO Richard Strongman. “We have the impression that the government is abdicating its responsibilities towards the local authorities. It’s a huge struggle for companies competing for a share of funding. What we really need is consistency.

A wholesaler told The Grocer that “time is running out” as many wholesale companies have now exhausted their reserves and can only continue trading after taking “substantial” loans.

Federation of Wholesale Distributors CEO James Bielby said: “It is extremely disappointing that two months after the initial announcement, the first step in a long process has only just begun. Cash flow and the credit crunch are a real problem. The wholesalers are funding the restart without government support and largely without the support of insurance companies. “

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