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Gloucestershire Business News

Pubs call for help from repaid rent relief

B&Q owner Kingfisher has become the latest big retail name to repay business rates relief amid calls for the returned money to be used to help the beleaguered pub trade.

Kingfisher will pay back £130million - £110million this year and £20million over the next 12 months - having previously paid back £23million of furlough money after strong sales throughout the coronavirus pandemic after reopening.

Chairman Andy Cosslett added: "Kingfisher is in a sound financial position with continuing positive trading momentum, due to both strong consumer demand and the benefits of our strategy.

"We are pleased that we are in a position to do this, and hope that the money can now be redeployed by the government and local authorities where it is needed most."

Lidl announced late last week it would pay back more the £100million while Amazon will follow suite with more than £2million from its Whole Foods Stores.

Supermarkets Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrison's, Asda and Aldi, plus Pets at Home and B&M have said they will hand back almost £2billion in business rates relief.

Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Co-op have said they will not follow suit due to Covid-related costs.

The British Beer & Pub Association said the returned money could constitute the "vital lifeline" for brewers and pubs.

Chief executive Emma McClarkin said: "It is a recognition that some sectors have struggled more than others through the pandemic.

"For that reason, I am calling on the Chancellor to use his unexpected Christmas bonus to provide a vital lifeline for the UK's struggling brewers and pubs.

Our sector has been struggling under the weight of unfair restrictions for months and there is no end in sight for us yet."

She continued: "The Government now has the chance to put in place a proper, comprehensive support package for thousands of brewing and pub businesses, allowing them to continue to serve their local communities and help lead the much-needed economic recovery next year."

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