CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

BEIS/TREASURY – BUSINESS RATES RELIEF AND FOOD AND DRINK WHOLESALERS [63199] – 23 June 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, for what reasons business rates relief (a) has been granted to businesses in the hospitality sector and (b) has not been granted to food and drink wholesalers; what assessment has been made of the effect of this decision on the food and drink supplies of (i) hospitals and (ii) schools; and if he will discuss with Ministerial colleagues the applications of business rates relief to the food and drink wholesale sector.  [63199] 

[Due for Answer on 29 June.] 

QUESTION TRANSFERRED FROM BEIS TO TREASURY 

ANSWER

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury (Jesse Norman): The Government has provided enhanced support through business rates relief worth almost £10billion to businesses occupying properties used for retail, hospitality and leisure that are accessible to visiting members of the public, given the direct and acute impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on those sectors.

Recent ONS figures show that, in the three months to May 2020, the volume of retail sales decreased by a record 12.8%, with declines across all stores except food and non-store retailing. The proportion spent online rose to the highest proportion on record in May 2020 at 33.4%.

A range of further measures to support all businesses, including those not eligible for the business rates holiday, such as food and drink wholesalers, has also been made available.