Officials have reportedly met with supermarket bosses to negotiate price cuts, the outlet has reported
UK officials are discussing with representatives of the retail sector ways to tame spiraling grocery inflation without imposing price caps, CNBC reported on Monday.
Forcing supermarkets to cut prices is not being considered, a government spokesperson told CNBC by email, adding that any scheme to help bring down food prices for consumers would be voluntary.
"We know the pressure households are under with rising costs and while inflation is coming down, food prices remain stubbornly high. That's why the prime minister and the chancellor have been meeting with the food sector to see what more can be done," the comment read.
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's administration is working out a mechanism that would entail supermarkets voluntarily maintaining low prices on basic foods, the Sunday Telegraph reported, citing sources.
British Health Secretary Steve Barclay ruled out price caps on food in an interview with the BBC, saying that the government was looking for "constructive discussions with supermarkets about how we work together, not about any element of compulsion."
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The UK government initiative echoes measures recently introduced in France where major supermarkets agreed to cut prices after President Emmanuel Macron asked retailers to trim their margins to fight soaring food prices. In March, French supermarkets slashed prices on about 50 basic items comprising the so-called "anti-inflation food basket."
Although headline inflation in the UK declined to 8.7% in April from the 10.1% reading in March amid cooling energy prices, food inflation has been stubbornly high. Grocery price growth reached 19.1% in April, which is the highest rate in more than 45 years, according to the Office for National Statistics.
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