The bonus decision will risk angering Co-op staff who believe it should have repaid £80m of pandemic support, Sky News can reveal. The Co-op Group is to hand annual bonuses to senior executives despite refusing to repay £65m in business rates relief it received from the government to support it through the pandemic
Sky News can reveal that the mutual’s remuneration committee has decided to reward chief executive Steve Murrells and senior colleagues for their work last year – a move that insiders say could spark a fierce backlash from members and employees.
The size of the bonuses to be handed to executives will be disclosed in the Co-op’s annual report in the coming weeks, and was unclear on Thursday.
Confirming a report by Sky News, the Co-op said it would give back only part of the state support it received in the form of business rates relief and furlough funds during 2020.
The repayment equates to £15.5m of money used to pay furloughed employees’ wages – but not the £65m it received from the government’s rates move early in the COVID-19 crisis.
The Co-op Group decided that comes despite it announcing on Thursday morning that group revenues increased by £0.6m to £11.5bn in 2020, with pre-tax profits soaring to £92m, up £25m on 2019.
It follows a robust debate among Co-op board members, some of whom had argued that the mutual risked undermining its ethical stance if it did not repay government support in its entirety.
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