Government assistance
Support for Wholesalers

ARG Funding


The Chancellor has announced an additional £102m will be added to the Additional Restrictions Grant fund, which is available to businesses which supply the hospitality and leisure sectors. The fund is distributed through local authorities. Find your local council website here.

Business Rates Relief


On the 25 March the Government announced a new COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF) fund of £1.5 billion to support businesses affected by the pandemic but that are ineligible for existing support linked to business rates such as wholesalers, following extensive campaigning by FWD on behalf of members.

The Government will shortly be administering the £1.5bn in funding to local authorities across England. Local authority allocations can be found here. Once local authorities have received this funding from central government and set up their local relief schemes they will begin administering this to eligible businesses, including wholesalers.

The Government has published guidance which is intended to support local authorities in administering the COVID-19 Additional Relief Fund (CARF). This guidance applies to England only. “Wholesale” is specifically mentioned in the guidance as a sector which is eligible for this support. 

Details of applications and the forms will be located on your local council website. Please note that some local councils may set up application processes quicker than others. Find your local council website here.  

How to apply for CARF

You will need to apply for the CARF through your Local Authority. We recommend regularly checking their Business/Covid Grants pages to find out when their schemes go live or getting in touch with them.

 The CARF is for businesses that have been financially impacted by the pandemic. Therefore the more information you can provide in your application the better.

Different Local Authorities will require evidence to be presented in different ways, however we recommend preparing evidence to demonstrate decline in turnover of at least 30% within the April 2020 to March 2021 period, compared to the same 2019 to 2020 period. This will strongly support your application. Even if you have not seen a 30% decline in turnover please still apply.

You may also apply for relief on your uncovered fixed costs (i.e. costs not covered by profits or insurance etc) during the period of COVID-19 (commencing 1 March 2020).  The guidance states that “an economic actor may benefit from relief up to 70% of their uncovered costs (although this 90% limit does not apply to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than £9 million turnover).”

In your application for CARF you must also indicate:

  • If you have not to date received any Covid related allowances or subsidies which fall within the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance or COVID-19 related allowances, confirm this in your application, or
  • if you have received other such subsidies, then you should provide the name and total value of those subsidies.

 If you have received Covid funding e.g under the Additional Restrictions Grant this does not exclude you from applying for CARF. However, if you have claimed over £2,243,000 over the period 2019/20 to 2021/22 from these schemes the please read the exclusions and rules below.


  • You will not be eligible for this support if you have received the Extended Retail Discount (covering Retail, Hospitality and Leisure).
  • As stated above, to be awarded CARF you must not have claimed more than £2,243,000 over the period 2019/20 to 2021/22 from schemes which fall within the Small Amounts of Financial Assistance or COVID-19 related allowances. COVID-19 business grants you have received from local government and the 2019/20 Retail Relief should count towards this limit, but you should not count any Extended Retail Discount you have received since 1 April 2020.
  • However, if you have exceeded the £2,243,000 allowance, they will still consider applications if you can evidence that you:
    • Intend to use the support to fund uncovered fixed costs (costs not covered by profits for insurance etc) during the period of COVID-19. Economic actors may claim for up to 90% of their uncovered costs (although this 70% limit does not apply to small businesses with less than 50 employees and less than £9 million turnover), and
    •  have shown a decline in turnover of at least 30% within the April 2020 to March 2021 period, compared to the same 2019 to 2020 period.
  • You can claim an additional £10 million of allowance (on top of the £2,243,000) if you meet the above tests and you have not claimed any other support from the additional allowance up to an aggregate £10 million limit (such as from the COVID-19 business grants).


Updated 05.05.21

The Government has announced £1.5bn in rates relief for businesses affected by Covid-19 outside the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors. The announcement explicitly includes wholesalers as being eligible businesses, and is the first traction we have had on business rates after exactly a year of campaigning by the whole trade. Thank you all for your help and input over the past year, we finally have some good news on business rates. We are working with Government colleagues on the details of this fund and will pass onto members as soon as we have more.

The announcement included the following case study:

Illustrative Case Study 2 – Food wholesaler operating from a warehouse outside of London:

  • prior to the pandemic sold exclusive to restaurants within a region
  • since the pandemic, turnover reduced nearly to nil
  • large warehouse where social distancing can be observed without an impact on operations.
  • rateable Value – £95,000
  • size – 5,200m2
  • under the MCC regime, the businesses would unlikely have been deemed to have suffered an MCC and so would have received no reduction
  • under our proposed approach the business would likely fall within scope given the economic impact on their business
  • for illustrative purposes, a 15% relief would save the business £7,300

Business rates are devolved, so the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive an additional £285 million through the Barnett formula.


Additional Restrictions Grant

Wholesalers are eligible to claim Additional Restrictions Grant (ARG) support via their local authority, and guidance for councils updated this week states: “Local Authorities are encouraged to support businesses from all sectors that may have been severely impacted by restrictions, but are not eligible for the Restart Grant scheme. This may include … wholesalers.”

FWD has been helping members to access ARG funding by engaging with their local councils and MPs, leading to substantial extra funding for those we have assisted.

Local Authority grants

The £2.2billion funding for Local Authority discretionary grants to businesses affected by the Covid restrictions has now been transferred to councils in England. Members should visit their council’s website to find out how to apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant, which provides support to businesses which have not had to close but which are impacted by Covid-19.

In its guidance to Local Authorities, the Business Department states: “We encourage Local Authorities to develop discretionary grant schemes to help those businesses which – while not legally forced to close – are nonetheless severely impacted by the restrictions put in place to control the spread of Covid-19. This could include businesses which supply the retail, hospitality, and leisure sectors, or businesses in the events sector.”

In reply to a parliamentary question on November 16, Minister Kemi Badenoch said: “We have provided Local Authorities with a further £1.1billion across England via the Additional Restrictions Grant. Local Authorities have discretion on how to use this funding to support businesses in their areas, but we encourage them to set up discretionary grant schemes to support businesses such as wholesalers which can remain open, but which are nonetheless severely affected by the enhanced COVID-19 restrictions.

Wholesalers should check their local authority’s website for details of how to apply for the Additional Restrictions Grant.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Guidance  has been updated with details of how to claim for periods after November 1, 2020. November 30 2020 is the last day employers can submit or change claims for periods ending on or before October 31, 2020. Claims for furlough days in November 2020 must be submitted by December 14, 2020.


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