Tesco – the UK’s largest supermarket chain, has announced it will repay £585m of business rates relief which was awarded during the coronavirus pandemic.
The company said it would be seeking how it could give back the total sum to the Treasury and the UK’s devolved administrations.
A number of supermarkets have faced scrutiny about benefiting from the business rates holiday, aimed at helping firms ride out the virus crisis because they are also paying out dividends to shareholders. The rates holiday is due to end in March.
Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy said: “Our colleagues have done an exceptional job in responding to the challenges of the pandemic. We have invested more than £725 million in supporting our colleagues, putting safety first, more than doubling our online capacity to support the most vulnerable customers in our communities, and hiring thousands of additional colleagues at a time of need. While business rates relief was critical support at a time of significant uncertainty, some of the potential risks we faced are now behind us.”
The chief executive added: “Every decision we’ve taken through the crisis has been guided by our values and a commitment to playing our part. In that same spirit, giving this money back to the public is absolutely the right thing to do by our customers, colleagues and all of our stakeholders.”
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