Co-op board to meet over £80m state funding repayment

The Co-op will reportedly hold a board meeting to decide whether to return £80 millions of state funding received during the pandemic.

The retailer’s board is set to meet next Tuesday to discuss repaying funding received in the form of business rates relief and furlough payments.

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The Co-op’s boardroom has seen “robust dialogue” over the issue, with some directors keen to repay the funding in full, Sky News reported.

Although the board is not yet technically split on the question of handing the money back because a vote has yet to take place, sources said they expected “deep divisions” to be exposed.

Nearly all of the Co-op’s privately owned rival supermarket chains have repaid substantial sums they obtained in business rates relief in recent months, after Tesco became the first big grocer to do so late last year.

Aldi, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, and Morrisons said they would refuse a further windfall from the Treasury after Chancellor Rishi Sunak extended a rates holiday until June.

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