TATTON MP Esther McVey is calling for assurances that money returned to Government from supermarkets will go to those in need.

Ms McVey wrote to supermarket bosses calling for them to hand back the combined £2 billion of support they received from taxpayers after Chancellor Rishi Sunak suspended all business rates for a year.

Many have agreed to pay back the relief – and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has praised Ms McVey for her leading role in the campaign.

But Ms McVey wants assurances that the cash will be handed over to businesses and individuals who fell through the cracks of Government support last year.

She said: "This money should not be put back into the Treasury pot and added to a balance sheet.

"It is money Government had written off and was not expecting to have and so it is right it is redistributed and goes to those who missed out on Government help when the packages of support were announced.

“I supported the Government’s package of measures announced by the Chancellor and it was a lifeline to many people but we must help the businesses and individuals that missed out."

Ms McVey has taken her concerns to Parliament and is vowing to keep the pressure on Mr Johnson and Mr Sunak.

As the third lockdown began last week, she asked the Prime Minister: "Supermarkets were asked to repay the money on the basis as there are many who have gone without support during this pandemic and it was on this basis that supermarkets 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 for that initiative and I think it was entirely right to return that cash.

“I can tell her overall if you look at the Government’s support packages, they go overwhelming to the poorest and neediest in society. They are fundamentally a very progressive package of measures.”