Dr Julian Lewis: The food and drink wholesalers on whom the hospitality industry depends are still excluded from business rates relief, and the additional restriction grants – which do help some of them substantially – are awarded entirely at the discretion of individual local authorities. Can that particular postcode lottery be replaced by a directive to ensure much greater consistency in awarding these vital grants?
[The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Rishi Sunak): My right hon. Friend has raised this industry with me multiple times, and he is right to do so. Although some food and drink wholesalers have been significantly impacted, others – for example, those that predominately serve the public sector – have not been, so I do not think it would be fair to provide blanket support. He talked about a postcode lottery. The other side of that coin is empowering local government and local decision making, and I believe that is the right approach. We have announced £425 million of additional discretionary support to local authorities, but I am sure that his raising the issue in the House in this way will give his local council and others the steer they need to direct support to this important industry.]