States rules out price cap on basic food items

THE States has ruled out introducing a price cap on basic food items to help combat the rising cost of living.


This is despite a Guernsey Press investigation finding that the cheapest loaf on sale at local supermarkets was nearly 20% more expensive than comparable UK loaves.

In the UK, the government has discussed the possibility of supermarkets voluntarily entering into an agreement to reduce the price of items such as bread and milk.

But a States spokesman confirmed that a similar move locally was not being talked about.

The Guernsey Press looked into the price of bread in branches of major supermarkets on the island to find the cheapest 800g loaf of white bread.

Waitrose charges its Essential range white bread at 94p for an 800g loaf, while Marks & Spencer and the Co-op both charge their own-brand white bread at £1.

Waitrose essential white medium sliced bread is 85p for an 800g loaf in the UK.

Freight costs sees UK businesses charging more for food in Guernsey than the comparable products in the UK.

‘Our Essential Waitrose range offers fantastic value, without compromising on the exceptional quality and high welfare commitments our customers expect,’ a Waitrose spokesman said.

M&S food development and external communications manager Gill Syvret-Berboda said that the supermarket would be dropping the price of its bread from £1 to 90p imminently, with the reduction set to come in this weekend.

The Co-op declined to comment.

The cheapest 800g white loaf at Alliance was £1.35, while at Iceland it was £1.49. However, neither of these stores sell own-brand bread.

An Iceland spokesman said that own-brand bread offered customers a value alternative, but it did not usually add up to the same nutritional value as branded loaves, which provided a good source of protein, as well as being low in salt and fat.

In the UK, major supermarket chains Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons all sell their own-brand white bread for 75p.

Milk prices in Guernsey were between £1.65 and £1.75 a litre across the shops checked by the Guernsey Press.

Milk did have a States-fixed retail price until the start of 2015, when the control was removed to try and make the milk price more competitive.

The milk price was £1.12 a litre in 2014.

However, since then the wholesale price has increased on several occasions and this rise is then passed on to customers.

The most recent rise of 12.6% saw milk prices rise from about £1.50 a litre earlier this year up to the current level.

Two pints milk from Asda and Tesco costs £1.11 per litre.

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