Piles of coins

Ask FWD: Accessing Covid government support

Wholesalers were celebrating this time last year when they appeared to be in line for government support, but some are still waiting. FWD unpicks the common intricacies stopping businesses getting their dues

Where’s my money?

What money?

It’s nearly a year since you told us government financial aid for wholesalers was on its way. So where is it?

It’s true that wholesalers missed out on the initial grants and business rates relief dished out to supermarkets and hospitality businesses in the early stages of the pandemic but, in fact, they have been able to access Additional Restrictions Grants (ARG) through local authorities for well over a year now.

We’ve seen individual awards of more than 300,000 going to FWD members. Because authorities tend to interpret eligibility in their own way, it’s been quite a challenge to establish a level playing field, but we’ve been helping members who were refused or feel they didn’t get adequate compensation.

We already knew about that…

But what you probably didn’t already know is that the fund was topped up by more than 100 million a couple of months ago and that money is now available through councils. So dive back in.

OK, but that’s not the money you promised.

You’re talking about the Covid Added Restriction Fund (CARF), which is a £1.5 billion pot to be distributed by local authorities. When the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, announced it in March last year, he specifically mentioned wholesalers as among the intended recipients. That has been reflected in the guidance sent to local authorities just before Christmas.

Why the hold-up?

It needed a change in the law and fresh legislation to be passed through all the stages of parliamentary approval, including sign-off from the Queen.

Ah. So when do I get my money?

Well, you have to apply for it first. Keep an eye on your local authority website for the application form. They don’t always call it the same thing, so be alert to any new funding strands that pop up. If you can’t access it, or are told you’re not eligible, they’re wrong. So get in touch with FWD and we can help with accessing the money.

Additional Restrictions Grant coronavirus Covid Added Restriction Fund covid-19 funding FWD Rishi Sunak Support Wholesalers