Rishi Sunak ‘will ask supermarkets to limit price of basic food items’ | Politics | News
The Prime Minister is reportedly locked in talks with supermarkets to try to convince them to cap the price of essential food products.
Rishi Sunak’s aides are hoping for an agreement similar to the one in France where large retailers sell certain basic food items at a reported “minimum amount”.
Such efforts would be the most significant attempt to control supermarket prices in the UK since Edward Heath’s Conservative government set up the Prices Commission under the Anti-Inflation Act of 1973.
But Downing Street insists that any moves by retailers to set price caps on food such as bread and milk would be voluntary.
The report comes amid rising concerns among ministers about the impact of inflation and the increased cost of loans on family budgets and the cost of living.
READ MORE: The exact time M&S, Tesco, Waitrose and other supermarkets cut in-store prices
The Telegraph A proposed food price cap, similar to the French model, has reportedly been mooted within Whitehall and among industry leaders over the past two weeks.
French retailers who agreed to the deal with the government picked up items in their stores that would be subject to freezes or price cuts.
Own brand products were often chosen on the basis that it was easier for retailers to control their costs.
But concerns were expressed that the proposals would be “anti-market” and would put smaller shops at a disadvantage as they could lose business to supermarkets that sell goods for less.
A Downing Street source said the plans were at a “drawing board” stage.
He said that while he recognized that supermarkets were not operating on large profit margins, “we are under such pressure that we are working with retailers on anything that can be done at the end to reduce prices for consumers”.
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