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UK News Asda to hand back £340m in rates relief after rivals return over £1bn

18:25  03 december  2020
18:25  03 december  2020 Source:   pressassociation.com

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Sainsbury's is handing back £ 440million it saved thanks to the government's business rates holiday Morrisons was then first to follow its rival 's move, with chief executive David Potts saying the The figures from Altus show Asda is projected to save £ 297million, Aldi £ 109million and Lidl £ 108million

Sainsbury’s will hand back £ 440m saved from business rates relief after Tesco and Morrisons announced plans to repay almost £ 1 bn of Covid tax breaks on Wednesday. Pressure piles on Sainsbury's, Asda and other rivals to follow suit.

Asda has announced it will hand over £340 million saved in business rates relief, becoming the latest grocer to return funds from the tax break following similar moves by Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Aldi.

Asda said it had ‘sought to do the right thing’ throughout the pandemic (Rui Vieira/PA) © Rui Vieira Asda said it had ‘sought to do the right thing’ throughout the pandemic (Rui Vieira/PA)

Earlier on Thursday, Aldi and Sainsbury’s said they will hand back more than £500 million in business rates relief to the Government.

It came after rivals Tesco and Morrisons made the same commitment.

The decision by the five grocers means more than £1.7 billion will be paid to the Government and puts more pressure on rivals to follow suit.

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Retailer will return millions to government after windfall from tax break during pandemic. Tesco has said it will hand back £ 585m in business rates relief that it has received during the coronavirus Tesco’s move will increase pressure on its rivals to make similar commitments to hand back their

Business rates relief was extended to all retailers as part of a package of measures announced in March. "The decision to repay business rates relief is one for individual companies to consider for themselves," said Tom Ironside, director of business and regulation at the British Retail Consortium.

Asda president and chief executive officer Roger Burnley said: “Throughout the pandemic we have always sought to do the right thing – fulfilling our role in feeding the nation, protecting our colleagues and supporting our communities.

“But, as the hope of a vaccine and a more ‘normal’ life returning in 2021 grows, we have confidence that we are in a strong position to again do the right thing for the communities we serve.

“Almost half our customers are telling us they expect their financial position to worsen in the next 12 months and we recognise that there are other industries and businesses for whom the effects of Covid-19 will be much more long lasting and whose survival is essential to thousands of jobs.”

Sainsbury’s said it will hand over £440 million saved from the Government’s business rates holiday.

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Related: Supermarkets should pay back £ 1 .9bn Covid business rates relief , say MPs. The big supermarkets have been heavily criticised for taking the payouts over concerns that taxpayer money Even rival retail executives have weighed in. Last week the chief executive of online electrical retailer

Boozers are urging the Chancellor to hand over the £ 585m handed back by Tesco in Covid rate reliefs to themCredit: Tom Nicholson / The Sun. Last night, Morrisons bowed to pressure and said it would now pay £ 274million in saved business rates .

a person sitting on a bench in front of a brick building: Sainsbury’s has said it will return the money by 2022 (Danny Lawson/PA) © Provided by PA Media Sainsbury’s has said it will return the money by 2022 (Danny Lawson/PA)

Discount retailer Aldi announced it plans to give back its tax break of more than £100 million.

Tesco has announced it will hand back £585 million and Morrisons £274 million.

Downing Street welcomed the grocers’ decisions to hand back the cash.

Asked whether any remaining supermarkets should follow suit, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “It’s a matter for individual businesses but we have been clear throughout that businesses should use our support appropriately.

“We welcome any decision to repay support where it is no longer needed.”

Giles Hurley, chief executive officer at Aldi UK, said: “Thanks to our amazing colleagues, we have been able to remain open during lockdowns and despite the increased costs we have incurred during the pandemic, we believe returning the full value of our business rates relief is the right decision to help support the nation.

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'And they don't return the £ 99 until the second payment has cleared, which can take at least two days with Asda . They used to pre-authorise your card for £ 1 but now it is £ 99. 'So that is money taken from your account that you can't use until they release it back once the other payment has cleared.

The 34-year-old cashed in on Asda ’s promise to refund the difference in cost if customers bought items cheaper from a rival . A Tesco out-of-stock price of 3p captured for three weeks on mysupermarket for Don Simon orange juice meant that Asda gave customers buying it for £ 1 a money-off voucher for

“Our continued investment for our colleagues and our customers will remain unchanged.”

Sainsbury’s said sales and profits have been stronger than expected since the start of the second national lockdown in England and the payment will come despite spending £290 million on making the business Covid-safe.

Simon Roberts, Sainsbury’s chief executive, said: “While we have incurred significant costs in keeping colleagues and customers safe, food and other essential retailers have benefited from being able to open throughout.

“With regional restrictions likely to remain in place for some time, we believe it is now fair and right to forgo the business rates relief that we have been given on all Sainsbury’s stores.

“We are very mindful that non-essential retailers and many other businesses have been forced to close again in the second lockdown and we hope that this goes some way towards helping them.”

The Co-op has said it will make a decision about handing back rates relief cash at year end (Co-op/PA) © Provided by PA Media The Co-op has said it will make a decision about handing back rates relief cash at year end (Co-op/PA)

He added: “We continue to urge Government to review the business rates system to create more of a level playing field between physical and online retailers.”

Asda and B&M to hand back rates relief as retailers return almost £2bn

  Asda and B&M to hand back rates relief as retailers return almost £2bn Downing Street welcomed the retailers’ decisions to pay back the cash.Discount retailer B&M told investors on Thursday afternoon it will return its savings of “around £80 million”.

The company said it had been considering the issue since the announcement of a second lockdown in England and will speak to Government on how to make the payments.

The business rates holiday was announced in March by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, aimed at helping retailers and hospitality firms forced to close due to the pandemic.

Marks & Spencer said it does not intend to return its £83 million of business rates relief.

A spokeswoman said: “We are very grateful for the much-needed support Government has provided to businesses impacted by the pandemic – including ours.

“It has enabled us to support our colleagues and our suppliers, whilst continuing to serve our customers in what have been incredibly challenging circumstances.”

Asked on Wednesday if it would match the Tesco pledge, the Co-op said the amount spent on protecting staff and customers outweighed the savings.

It added: “Given the huge uncertainty we’re facing … and the ongoing costs we are incurring, we’ll consider our approach in terms of the Government support we’ve received at year end.”

A spokesman for Waitrose owner the John Lewis Partnership said: “We are incredibly grateful for this vital support because we have lost significant sales while our John Lewis shops have been closed and have invested heavily to keep our partners and customers safe.

“The outlook remains incredibly uncertain and Government support remains crucial to help us navigate the crisis.

“We’re a business owned by our employees – our partners, not external shareholders – and we don’t intend to pay a bonus this year.

“Whenever we make any money, it is invested in our partners, our business and charitable giving.”

Data compiled last month for the PA news agency by real estate adviser Altus Group projected the UK’s four largest grocers – Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Morrisons, plus German rivals Aldi and Lidl – would save about £1.87 billion as a result of the rates holiday.

The total saving for all “essential” retailers, which have been allowed to remain open, is about £3.03 billion, Altus added, from a total rates bill of £10.1 billion.

Early in the pandemic, Tesco and rival supermarkets faced criticism for taking the rates relief at the same time as handing out dividends to shareholders.

Tesco did not use the Government’s furlough scheme.

In Wales, the six major supermarkets still had to pay around £78 million for some stores as a result of devolved business rates.

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