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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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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

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.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 13 December 2007:


Scotland

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


Global Warming

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


Socialist Students

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


 

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