Rishi Sunak will ask supermarkets to place price limit on essential food items

Inflation falls to lowest level in over a year

The Prime Minister is reportedly locked in talks with supermarkets in a bid to persuade them to limit the price of essential food products.

Rishi Sunak’s aides are hoping to hammer out a deal similar to one that exists in France where major retailers sell certain basic food items for the “lowest possible amount”, it has been reported.

Such efforts would be the most significant attempt to regulate supermarket prices in the UK since the Price Commission was set up by Edward Heath’s Conservative government under 1973’s Counter-Inflation Act.

But Downing Street reportedly insists that any moves by retailers to set price caps on food like bread and milk would be voluntary.

The report comes amid rising concern among ministers about the impact of inflation and the increased cost of borrowing on household budgets and the cost of living.

The Telegraph reports that a proposed food price cap, similar to the French model, has been mooted within Whitehall and among industry leaders over the last two weeks.

French retailers that agreed to the deal with the government picked out items in their stores that would be subject to price freezes or cuts.

Own-brand products were often selected on the basis that retailers found it easiest to control their costs.

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But concerns have reportedly been raised that the proposals would be “anti-market” and put smaller shops at a disadvantage because they could lose business to supermarkets selling items for less.

A Downing Street source reportedly claimed that the plans were at a “drawing board” stage.

It said that while it recognised supermarkets were not operating on big profit margins, “the pressures are such that we are working with retailers on anything that can be done at their end to bring down prices for consumers”.

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