UK is NOT heading back to the 70s with food price controls, minister insists after Rishi told cap will halt competition | The Sun

THE UK will NOT head back to the 1970s with food price controls, a minister today insisted.

Work and Pensions Secretary Mel Stride slapped down suggestions that the cost of basic groceries such as bread and milk will be capped by the government.

But as food inflation sits at an eye-watering 15.4%, Mr Stride warned supermarket chiefs they must voluntarily put hard-up households before hefty profits.

The minister told Sky News: "We’re not heading towards the 1970s and lots of price controls left, right and centre.

"I do think when we have these particular pressures it’s responsible of government to have a dialogue with the supermarkets and producers to see what can collectively be done to try and keep prices rises as low as possible.

"I don’t think that’s unreasonable."


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Price watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, is currently investigating whether "any failure in competition" is leaving Brits paying higher food costs than they should be.

The body will interview grocery bosses and analyse pricing across the industry before presenting findings to government.

Mr Stride added: "We’re on the side of consumers, particularly the most vulnerable and we’re making sure we’re involved in those conversations to try and do whatever we can to keep prices down.

"All the forecasts are that inflation should halve by the end of the year… that will ultimately take the pressure off."

Yesterday Asda Chairman Stuart Rose warned ministers against introducing price caps, as the move could have "unintended consequences".

Mr Rose told the BBC supermarkets are "already competing very heavily with each other to give our customers the best possible deal" and are "well ahead of what the government can offer".

"Starting to try and manipulate markets or control markets is is not going to be effective," he said. "Be careful about what you wish for, be careful about the unintended consequences."

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He insisted fixing prices "actually would be counterproductive because if you say you're going to fix the price and suppose then you could actually do it cheaper and you'd agree to keep it at a higher price, you'd be depriving the customer of a better deal".

Mr Rise added: "That's the anti-competitive and actually it's almost a cartel, and cartels are illegal."

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