By Ruth Sunderland and Tom Witherow For The Daily Mail
Published: 01:06 GMT, 2 March 2020 | Updated: 01:15 GMT, 2 March 2020
Lidl is being penalised with huge increases in its business rates because it installed solar panels on its stores in a push to go green.
The supermarket said its plans to invest £3million this year on the panels were being undermined by an up to 700 per cent rise in rates charged on them.
The revelations will add to the pressure on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to reform business rates in the Budget.
Lidl has put panels on seven stores so far but wants to add them to 15 more a year. They can generate nearly a third of the energy needed in one of its supermarkets, meaning a big cut in its energy bills and a benefit to the environment
Lidl – which has 800 stores – was paying £689 on the solar panels on a typical shop, but that has risen 528 per cent to £4,329 a year.
The increase comes under an obscure change in 2017 in the way rates are charged on solar panels.
The German-owned discount retailer has now said its plans for more are ‘under continuous review’.
Critics say this is making a mockery of the Government’s goal of an environmentally friendly economy.
Dominic Curran, of the British Retail Consortium, said: ‘If the Government wants to help the environment and encourage investment, they should use the Budget to provide a relief that incentivises new investment. That would allow firms to make improvements... without facing a higher tax liability.’