Thursday, May 11, 2023

Vivienne Clarke

Supermarket chains should be compelled to publish their profits to prove that they are not engaging in profiteering and price gouging, Labour Party spokesperson on finance, public expenditure and reform Ged Nash has said.

Mr Nash told RTÉ radio’s Morning Ireland that supermarkets conceal their profits “like the Third Secret of Fatima”.

It would be far better for hard-pressed consumers if there was “proper engagement” with the supermarkets by the new food price regulator, he said, adding: “We need to understand all of the costs across the supply chain.”

“What’s missing here is actually what the consumers are being charged on supermarket profits, and they need to be compelled to publish those profits. They need additional primary legislation and regulation to do that. I think that’s the missing piece here,” he said.

Mr Nash said research had shown that food price inflation was well ahead of regular levels of inflation.

The Louth & East Meath TD added: “We know that the European Central Bank, hardly an anti-poverty NGO (Non-Government Organisation), has said themselves that probably about 50 per cent of the inflation that we’re experiencing at the moment is down to profiteering high profit margins.

“Big corporations, Irish companies, according to the CSO (Central Statistics Office), are making a profit 17.7 per cent ahead of this time last year. So there is an issue there and my view is we should treat them the same as energy companies.

“If profiteering is proven, we should slap windfall taxes on the big supermarket players.”

The way in which all the supermarkets brought down prices at the same time recently should be a matter of interest to the Competition Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Nash said.

He described the price reductions in advance of the meeting between supermarket representatives and Minister for State Neale Richmond as “a PR exercise”.

“It was a PR exercise, merely spin, to take the heat off of them and to throw a small bone indeed to the Minister and Government, because the Government are really flailing on this,” Mr Nash said.

Market analysis needed to be undertaken to establish what were the levels of profiteering by the large supermarket chains, he said, adding transparency was key so the public could make up their own minds.

“We’re here because 677,000 people in this country, in this very rich country, are actually living below the poverty line. There are people listening to this programme this morning or going hungry.

“They simply cannot afford to feed their families, and that’s completely unconscionable in a country like Ireland in 2023,” Mr Nash added.

Comments are closed.

Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

More National News

Man dies after jet ski incident in Co Clare

Man shot in both legs in Belfast