• Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Business

Tesco to repay £585m to the government; says ‘some risks are behind us’

FILE PHOTO: A woman walks past a Tesco extra superstore near Manchester, Britain January 8, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble/File Photo

By: Pramod Thomas

BRITAIN’s biggest retailer Tesco on Wednesday(2) said it will repay  £585 million ($785m) of Covid-19 pandemic business rates relief it received from the government as some of the risks of the crisis were behind it.

Britain’s supermarket groups have performed well during the pandemic but have been criticised by lawmakers and media for paying shareholders dividends whilst receiving taxpayer money in the form of property tax relief.

Last month Tesco estimated the pandemic would cost it  £725m pounds this year – well in excess of the rates relief received.

“While business rates relief was a critical support at a time of significant uncertainty, some of the potential risks we faced are now behind us,” said Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy.

“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.”

The group will work with the UK government and devolved administrations on the best means of repaying the money.

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