About 51,000 Tesco employees will share £174 million, after the supermarket’s latest Save As You Earn scheme matured last week.

Details of the payouts will come tonight in a speech by Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy, at the University of Lancaster.

In the speech, Leahy will reveal that the UK's biggest supermarket has created, on average, one job every 20 minutes for the past decade and that prices have fallen almost 30 per cent.

He will say: “Just think what that means for families on tight budgets. Tesco has saved the typical household£4,954 on shopping bills since 1997.”