Bishop of Exeter asks about increasing food costs in supermarkets

The Bishop of Exeter received the following written answer on 14th November 2022:

The Lord Bishop of Exeter asked His Majesty’s Government how they are working with supermarkets to ensure that affordable staple foods are available on the shelves this winter given the increasing food cost for (1) consumers, and (2) retailers.

Lord Benyon (Con): Defra has well established ways of working with industry. This includes extensive, regular and ongoing engagement with supermarkets and producers in order to tackle the cost-of-living challenge. Through this engagement, Defra will continue to explore the range of measures food retailers can take to ensure the availability of affordable food. For example, by maintaining value ranges, price matching and price freezing measures.

On 14 June, David Buttress was appointed by HM Government as the new Cost of Living Business Tsar. Since his appointment, Mr Buttress has been working in partnership with some of the United Kingdom’s largest supermarkets, including Asda, Morrisons and Sainsburys, to reduce costs at the checkout and ensure the access of essential products and services for families across the country.

However, it is not for His Majesty’s Government to set retail food prices nor to comment on day-to-day commercial decisions by companies. Rising food prices are dependent on a combination of factors including agri-food import prices, domestic agricultural prices, domestic labour and manufacturing costs.

In addition to the energy support package announced by Government in September, we have committed £37 billion to tackle the increased cost of living this year. This includes an additional £500 million to help households with the cost of essentials, including food, bringing total funding for this support to £1.5 billion.


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