LONDON: Tesco, Britain’s biggest retailer, said it will repay £585 million 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 £725 million 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.
The group will work with the UK government and devolved administrations on the best means of repaying the money.