21 May 1998
Independent probe into meat pricing urged

THE red-meat pricing structure of the major supermarket chains should be investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), according to a cross-party committee of Welsh MPs.

The call for an independent inquiry has come from the House of Commons Welsh Affairs Committee which compiled a report on the livestock crisis in Wales.

The Committee agrees that the evidence does not indicate retailers have been profiteering at farmers expense but commented: “They have clearly not been suffering greatly either”.

It published a report yesterday on the even of a Commons debate on agriculture in which it said that the fall in livestock prices over the last year had made many farms unprofitable. Many would go out of businesses unless things changed.

It said the bargaining power of farmers had progressively weakened as retailers control of the supply chain had increased.

And it was crucial supermarkets did not use their position of strength to force meat prices even lower.

The British Retail Consortium said there seemed little evidence to support the recommendation of an OFT inquiry.

  • “Supermarket pricing should be investigated by OFT” – report, FWi, yesterday (20 May) — Click here
  • The Scotsman 21/05/98 page 28
  • The Times 21/05/98 page 10
  • The Daily Telegraph 21/05/98 page 15