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Tesco boss's pay more than doubles in 'slap in face' after food price inflation

Tesco boss Ken Murphy saw his pay more than double after the supermarket’ enjoyed a profits bonanza on the back of sprialling food bills.

The chief executive was awarded a package of pay and perks worth almost £9.93m which was up on the £4.44m the year before.

The supermarket boss was paid an annual salary of £1.64m plus an annual bonus of £3.38m.

On top of that the package was boosted by £4.91m from Mr Murphy’s performance share plan (PSP) which is based on the company’s share price and profits.

The grocery giant saw pre-tax profits skyrocket 159 percent to £2.29bn in the 12 months to February 29, which was up from £882m last year.

Group sales excluding VAT and fuel surged 7.4 percent to £61bn, with UK like-for-likes up 7.7 percent “driven by a strong performance across all formats and channels”.

The increase in total pay means that Murphy now earns more than 430 times the average pay at Tesco, up from a multiple of 197 in the previous year.

Sharon Graham, the general secretary of the Unite union, said: “Ken Murphy’s £5m wage increase is a slap in the face to the millions of struggling workers and their families who paid for it through higher food bills. The fact is, Tesco has taken advantage of the cost of living crisis to rake in obscene profits, and it is far from the only one.”

Luke Hildyard, the executive director of the High Pay Centre thinktank, added that Murphy’s pay gap with a typical employee was the third highest since pay ratio reporting began five years ago.

He said: “You couldn’t really get a better indicator of how the UK economy serves the interests of the super-rich at the expense of everybody else than this – a multimillionaire chief executive trousering another £10m while their customers endure major price rises and their employees have to get by on less than a quarter of a per cent of what the CEO takes home.”

Alison Platt, the chair of Tesco’s remuneration committee, said Mr Murphy’s pay was benchmarked against pay for other FTSE 50 companies and other comparable international businesses. “This pay award reflects the fact Tesco has delivered for all of its stakeholders over the last year – from its most competitive-ever customer offer to its record investment in colleague pay.”

MPs on the House of Commons EFRA committee recently accused stores of raking in huge profits and questioned whether they had been doing enough to protect shoppers from spiralling prices.

They pointed to evidence from the consumer champion Which? whose surveys show millions are worried about prices or have been forced to skip meals.

And one MP suggested that a record rise in shoplifting has been – at least partly – driven by the fact essentials, such as baby formula, are too expensive.

Separately, farmers told MPs during earlier hearings that they have been hammered by supermarkets which have failed to pay them a fair price that reflects higher costs.

During questioning of the supermarket executives, Labour MP, Barry Gardiner, said: “Which? reports that 79 per cent of customers are extremely worried about food price inflation.

“They said one in five households are going without some foods and 13 per cent of households have skipped meals.

“In March 2023, the annual rate of food price inflation was the highest it had been for 45 years … 19.1 per cent.

“This year on top of that there has been a further increase of 4 per cent. Prices keep on going up.”

Against that background, he questioned whether supermarkets are doing as much as they could to help shoppers.


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