Tesco repays its business rates relief

Tesco repays its business rates relief

The UK’s largest supermarket chain is repaying £585m of business rates relief it received during the coronavirus pandemic, the Guardian has reported.

Tesco announced the move following criticism that the supermarkets didn’t need the help – as they have enjoyed a sales boost during the crisis, and kept paying dividends to investors.

Tesco says it is “immensely grateful” for the financial and policy support provided by the governments of the UK – including the 12-month break on business rates granted to all retailers.

Game changer

This was a game-changer and allowed us to ensure customers got access to the essentials they needed.

The chain says it faced “significant uncertainty” earlier this year — panic buying, severe pressure on supply lines, major safety concerns and the risk of mass absences from work.

The group also points out that the costs of Covid-19 have been considerable. “Every penny of the rates relief we have received has been spent on our response to the pandemic. Our latest estimate at our Interim Results in October was that COVID would cost Tesco c.£725m this year – well in excess of the £585m rates relief received” the company stated.

Doing the right thing

“Ten months into the pandemic, our business has proven resilient in the most challenging of circumstances. While all businesses have been impacted – many severely so – we have been able to continue trading throughout, serving many millions of customers every day and although uncertainties still exist, some of the potential risks faced earlier in the year are now behind us. We remain absolutely committed to doing the right thing by our customers, colleagues and all our stakeholders.

We are therefore announcing that we will return to the public the business rates relief received in full. We will work with the UK Government and Devolved Administrations on the best means of doing that.