MONEY saved by supermarket companies through the suspension of business rates must be redistributed to those businesses which have missed out on Government support during the pandemic.

The demand has been made by Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore and parliamentary colleague Philip Davies, of neighbouring Shipley constituency.

Both MPs were part of a successful Blue Collar Conservative campaign which pressed for store giants to cough-up the £2 billion they saved after rates were put on hold to help struggling businesses at the start of the pandemic.

Many firms have pledged to return the money.

Now assurances are being sought that the cash will be used to help those in need of support – and not go back into the Treasury pot.

Mr Davies said: “There are still many individuals and businesses who missed out on support and desperately need it. When we started this campaign we were clear the money should be repaid and redistributed – and that is the basis on which supermarkets said they would pay it back. The Prime Minister has praised the work of Blue Collar Conservative for securing this money – and that is appreciated – but what I really want is assurances from him on how the money will be redistributed. In the coming weeks I will be doing everything I can to ensure businesses and individuals across my constituency get the help they need.”

Mr Moore says it is “vital” that the money goes to those businesses requiring support.

He added: “Whilst financial support has been made available to a large number of businesses, there are some that have been eligible for no funding help. It is vital, therefore, that this money is redistributed to those businesses across Keighley and Ilkley which have missed out.

“Many of these businesses have made huge sacrifices during the pandemic. It is now time that we assist them in their hour of need.”

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in Parliament that it was “entirely right” supermarkets should return the cash.

Both Mr Davies and Mr Moore have also reiterated their thanks to supermarket staff for working “tirelessly” throughout the pandemic to keep the country fed. Last year, both MPs called for an increase in the court sentence someone can be given if found guilty of assaulting a shopworker after cases soared.