A campaign backed by Karl, calling on supermarkets to repay money saved in business rates and for it to be redistributed to those who missed out on Government help, has today received praise from the Prime Minister.
Supermarkets have agreed to pay back the £2 billion of unpaid rates, after a campaign by Blue Collar Conservative MPs (BCC), of which Karl is a member, wrote to the food bosses calling for action.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised the efforts of Karl and his BCC colleagues, but the group wants assurances that money will not be lost in the Treasury pot but redistributed.
Karl said: “It is clear some organisations have received vast amounts of taxpayers’ money, not wholly honestly, or utilised in a moral way. One example has been our supermarkets -- whilst small businesses have been closed, large supermarkets have remained open. When annual reports are published, I expect a record-breaking year for supermarkets.
“I am therefore absolutely delighted by the Prime Minister’s recognition of the success of our BCC campaign to ensure the £2bn in Covid relief received by major supermarket chains, will now be re-distributed to those who really need it.
“As Conservatives we all value the immense contribution that small businesses make to both society and our economy. In Lincoln, these small businesses are the backbone to many communities, families and our High Street.”
The praise from the Prime Minister came in Parliament in response to questioning from Tatton MP Esther McVey, founder of the group.
Ms McVey said: “The Prime Minister will know that Blue Collar Conservatism was instrumental in persuading the supermarkets to return the business rate relief that they did not need. We asked them to do this on the basis that there are many who have gone without support during this pandemic and it was on this basis that they returned that money. So will the Prime Minister ensure that that £2 billion returned by the supermarkets will go to those who had not had any of the support so far, who have been excluded because they cannot go another three months without any income.”
Mr Johnson said: “Absolutely and I thank her and her fellow Blue Collar Conservatives for that initiative and I think it was entirely right and I think those corporations and those supermarkets were entirely right to return that cash.
“If you look at the Government’s support packages, they go overwhelmingly to the poorest and neediest in society. They are fundamentally a very progressive package of measures.”
BCC is a grass roots campaign made up of more than 160 MPs in Westminster, who want to give a voice to hard-working British voters and ensure Government policy reflects the needs of their families and communities. By turning politics on its head and escaping the Westminster bubble the group want to let people have their say and those views fed back to ministers.
Karl said the fight will continue to push for assurances as many still faced months of uncertainty as we begin the third national lockdown.
Earlier this year as part of BCC he called for the sentence someone can be given if guilty of assaulting a shopworker to increase after cases soared during the first lockdown.
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