One of the UK’s biggest supermarkets have bowed to public pressure and will repay more than £585m in business rates relief they accepted from the government to help them deal with the coronavirus.
The UK government introduced a one year business rates holiday in March because of the fear that the pandemic would limit retailers finances and potentially threatening their ability but the reality proved very different, with most Supermarkets enjoying a sales boost with higher costs.
The supermarket giant has been under pressure to return the funds after it had paid £315M to investors in October.
A statement from TESCO on Wednesday insisted it had used “every penny” to manage the impact of the Coronavirus Crisis on its staff and customers. The Chairman of the Company Allan John said the board had agreed unanimously to repay the fund.
We are financially strong enough to be able to return this to the public, and we are conscious of our responsibilities to society. The Chairman added.
“We firmly believe now that this is the right thing to do, and we hope this will enable additional support to those businesses and communities who need it.”
“These funds meant that we had the immediate confidence, in the face of significant uncertainty, to invest in colleagues, and support our customers and suppliers,” the supermarket said.
TESCO also describe the funds as a “game changer” and are immensely grateful for the financial and policy support.