- Supermarket chains Sainsbury's and Morrisons have announced that they will pay business rates in full, waiving their right to relief.

The government had decided not to collect rates this year, to provide businesses with more cash to aid them through lockdown.

However, both Sainsbury's and Morrisons announced this morning that they would pay the rates in full, totalling £684 million between them.

Morrisons will pay £274 million, of which £230 million relates to its 2020-21 financial year. Sainsbury's will pay £410 million.

The news follows a similar announcement from Tesco yesterday, which announced that it would repay £585 million of business rates relief.

The trio of supermarkets have played a key role in the UK's retail landscape through lockdown.

Sainsbury's CEO Simon Roberts said: 'We have been proud to play our part in feeding the nation in this extraordinary year and every one of our colleagues has gone above and beyond to support each other, our customers and our communities.

'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.'

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: 'We are grateful for the government's swift action at the start of the pandemic which enabled the whole sector to face squarely into the challenges and disruption caused by COVID-19.

'Throughout this difficult period Morrisons has done its best work to look after our colleagues, our customers and key workers, to feed the nation, to protect both the vulnerable and our smaller suppliers and to play a full and leading role in meeting the enormous challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brought. I'm exceptionally proud of the way that the whole business has responded.'

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