Co-op refuses to repay £66m business rates relief

The Co-op will not repay £66m it secured in business rates relief from the Government during the pandemic but will repay £15.5m in furlough support.

The mutual made the decision despite profits more than doubling to £77m and revenues jumped 5.5pc to £11.5bn for the year to January 2.

More than £2bn has been handed back to the Government in business rates relief from other essential retailers that continued to trade during lockdown measures.

Allan Leighton, Co-op group chairman, said it had played a “vital and unique role in feeding and caring for the nation” during the pandemic.

“We were grateful for the Government support that allowed us to manage our businesses through the pandemic, particularly our Funeralcare business, which has been working with bereaved families in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, helping them mark the passing of loved ones at a time of national grief.

“The pandemic turned our plans upside down and, while our revenues went up marginally, our costs rose disproportionately.

“We welcomed money from the Government on the basis that it was not a loan and we would not need to pay it back – and we took business decisions accordingly.”

More follows

More Stories
Cruise ships could resume sailing by midsummer, Buttigieg says