The Office of Fair Trading has handed out fines totalling £116 million, after supermarkets including Sainsbury’s and Asda admitted that they were part of a milk price fixing cartel that took over £270 million extra from British shoppers.
The supermarkets claim that they entered into the illegal price fixing so they could pay dairy farmers more.
But the OFT says that is a lie. The collusion saw customers being charged 3 pence extra for a pint of milk, 15p extra per quarter-pound of butter and 15p per half-pound of cheese – but hard-pressed farmers didn’t see a single penny of the supermarkets’ inflated profits.
I’ve got to say, I believe the OFT here. For years now, UK dairy farmers have been bitterly complaining that the supermarkets refuse to pay a decent price. Because Asda and Sainsbury’s have such huge buying power, they are able to dictate how much they will pay; the farmers have no choice but to accept what they are offered.
Tesco and Morrissons refused to admit any guilt in this affair. But the OFT is pressing on with investigations against them. And I won’t be surprised if it turns out that the last two supermarket chains were in the cartel.
And if that is how it turns out, the OFT should hit Tesco and Morrissons with really big fines. Why should they be allowed to make inflated profits off us and give the farmers next to nothing?!!