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    Hunt rules out price caps for supermarkets, but not other steps

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    Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has hinted on some regulations to tackle price rise while dismissing the possibility of price caps, saying it would be the wrong way to tackle the rising food prices.

    “I don’t believe capping prices is the right long-term solution….I will be meeting the regulators next week to talk further about what needs to be done with respect to supermarkets,” Hunt told parliament on Tuesday (20).

    This comes a week after it was reported that prime minister Rishi Sunak has abandoned plans to ask supermarkets to impose a voluntary price cap on basic goods after a backlash from retailers.

    “The government has never been considering imposing price caps. We continue to engage with supermarkets about the best way to support consumers,” a British government spokesperson said.

    Last month, Telegraph reported citing sources that the government is planning to put a price cap, something which received sharp reaction from the industry representative, the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which argued such measures would not bring about any significant changes.

    A voluntary agreement with major retailers could see price reductions on basic food items like bread and milk, stated the report.

    Speaking on the possible measures, Health Secretary Steve Barclay told BBC One’s Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme that “this is about having constructive discussions with supermarkets about how we work together, not about any element of compulsion”.

    He added that the government was also keen to protect “suppliers who themselves face considerable pressures”.

    The report was received with a backlash with BRC saying that the government should focus more on cutting red tape rather than “recreating 1970s-style price controls”.

    “This will not make a jot of difference to prices. High food prices are a direct result of the soaring cost of energy, transport, and labour, as well as higher prices paid to food manufacturers and farmers,” said Andrew Opie, director of food and sustainability at the BRC.

    “As commodity prices drop, many of the costs keeping inflation high are now arising from the muddle of new regulation coming from government.

    Rather than recreating 1970s-style price controls, the government should focus on cutting red tape so that resources can be directed to keeping prices as low as possible.”

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