Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has responded to news this afternoon (Monday) that the Competition and Markets Authority has launched an investigation into record-high food prices in supermarkets. Groceries have risen at their fastest rate in over 45 years, increasing year-on-year to 19.2 per cent in March – up from 18.2 per cent in February. The Liberal Democrats have been the only political party calling for this investigation.
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said:
“Given ongoing concerns about high prices, we are announcing the stepping up of our work in the grocery sector to understand whether any failure in competition is contributing to grocery prices being higher than they would be in a well-functioning market.”
Mr Carmichael said:
“This new investigation is a welcome step by the Competition and Markets Authority. Everyone in the country has seen the cost of their grocery basket soar in recent years – far beyond inflation on most other goods – and that hike has hit less well-off families the hardest.
“Whatever the findings of the investigation clearly something is simply not working when people are being squeezed simply to get the essentials on their table. The government needs to step up for the sake of families and food producers across the country.
“I have been calling for some time for the Groceries Code Adjudicator and the CMA to step up and take more action on the role of supermarkets in food production and prices. Long before the current inflation crisis there was a consensus in rural and agricultural communities across the country that more needed to be done and our concerns have been borne out. The supermarkets have taken advantage of their market dominance for too long, and that absolutely must end.”
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
“I welcome the CMA listening to Liberal Democrat calls for an investigation into the possibility of supermarkets profiteering off the cost-of-living crisis.
“Conservative Ministers have completely failed to bring down food prices. Liberal Democrat action has lead to this investigation without any help from the Government. Rishi Sunak and Jeremy Hunt are badly failing the country.
“Large supermarket profits in the face of spiralling food prices will not sit right with the country. This is an important first step in holding their bosses to account.”