Saturday, 5 April 2008


This Government had the opportunity to tax alco-pops and drinks that feature in binge and illegal drinking at the last Budget but rather than do this to the benefit of the tax payer and society, wines and beer were the main targets for revenue raising.
A little while ago, a Tesco spokesman put the idea to Government that Tesco and the other big supermarket chains could not fix prices of drinks at a high rate as this was illegal and would form a cartel. Would the Government please fix prices for them so that they could then be responsible traders and do their bit for society and help reduce binge drinking. This idea seems to have been taken up seriously. Lets think about this utter tosh for a moment.
Tesco, with Jack Cohen at the forefront, campaigned in the 1960s to have Retail Price Maintenance, a fixed price by food processors for their products at any shop, abolished so Tesco could then buy in bulk, stack'em high and undercut other grocers; this was considered good for the consumer. Tesco's dominant place in the UK food and retail business followed.
So why is Tesco and other supermarket chains now pushing for Retail Price Maintenance's return on booze? Could it be that they have worked out, because they are engaged in a cost-cutting price war with each other and have to compete on price, that bulky low/no profit lorryloads of booze are losing them money as 'loss-leaders'. They cannot all agree to raise prices, thats illegal, so why not get the Government to do it for us on the spurious grounds that we supermarket chains want to do our civic bit!
The supermarket chains, if the Government takes this on , will have achieved the same result as if they had formed a secret cartel to raise and fix prices which of course is illegal isn't it? As a consumer I find this whole situation hypocritical, distasteful and more costly whilst the supermarkets increase their already bloated profits. So the message is that supermarket chains are now manipulating Government as much to enforce retail price maintenance , now that it suits them, as they did to have it abolished when it suited them.

1 comment:

Michael Child said...

Bertie the big chain shops are using their lobbying power to destroy our towns and way of life, taking us down a road that is environmentally unsustainable i.e. larger and larger shops further and further away from where people live. There only motive in destroying the various retail price fixing arrangements that were in place in this country to protect the consumer, is to close down the competition. When you see the things that everyone has to use vanishing locally and appearing in out of town supermarkets at the moment its chemists and post offices, look out for the winners and losers. What you are up against here is the efforts to get rid of our pubs, you will often see health and safety reasons used, smoking ban, double yellow lines ostensibly for emergency vehicle access.