Link to this page: https://secure.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/514/3560
From The Socialist newspaper, 13 December 2007
Every fiddle helps
TOP SUPERMARKETS Sainsbury's and Asda are to pay the Treasury near-record fines of £116 million for 'price fixing' in milk, cheese and butter in a scandal in 2002-2003 estimated to have cost consumers about £270 million.
The 'regulators', the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) accused these supermarket 'competitors' of colluding by swapping information amongst themselves to make about 3p per litre more profit on milk. They also charged customers 15p extra for a quarter-pound of butter or a half-pound of cheese.
They negotiated a smaller fine - Sainsbury's paid £26 million instead of £40 million - for this milking of profits after owning up. But Britain's biggest supermarket, Tesco, Morrisons and the dairy group Lactalis McLelland also allegedly fixed the price of dairy products, but do not accept liability and could face bigger fines.
The big four supermarkets control 75% of the market and use their size to squeeze their smaller rivals and to give a raw deal to smaller suppliers such as dairy farmers. So far, they have still made £154 million out of this collusion if you take the fines from their extra profits.
Meanwhile, according to anti-supermarket campaigners, the OFT and the government have plans to loosen planning laws that will make the big four even more dominant in the market.
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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.
The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.
The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.
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In The Socialist 13 December 2007:
Defend Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's witch-hunt
Tommy Sheridan: End Murdoch's vendetta
Tommy Sheridan perjury charge
Socialist Party NHS campaign
Warning: NHS cuts seriously damage your health
Manchester: Karen Reissmann sacked - and cuts still loom
Post Office dispute
Fight to save post offices
What we think
Interest rate cut will bring no reprieve
Charity begins at the bank
Every fiddle helps
Government's lying statistics
Thousands march against climate change
Socialist Party news and analysis
Sefton's first citizen "cheating the system"
Unite Cardiff schools campaigns
Your new police terror chief
National Union of Students: Right wing force through undemocratic changes
Leicester students debate tuition fees
International socialist news and analysis
Beijing Olympics under a cloud
China: Mass protests erupt in Shenyang
Extraordinary tape destruction at CIA torture camp
Workplace news and analysis
DWP strike: Fighting the pay cuts
Birmingham city council: Workers boo 'lead balloon' councillors
Action can beat Cadbury closure threat
Newham council sack Unison chair
The Socialist 13 December 2007 |
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