The UK’s leading supermarkets have not yet agreed to commit to the government’s fuel price reporting scheme, despite plans for it to roll out in August.
Earlier this month, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) set out a voluntary scheme that asks supermarkets to release their fuel pricing information to give customers better comparison data on local rates.
This comes as it found that drivers obtaining fuel from the UK’s four main supermarket-owned forecourts had paid an additional £900m for fuel last year, as a result of the retailers having hiked their profit margins.
CMA CEO Sarah Cardell told MPs on the business and trade comittee yesterday (20 July): “We don’t yet have firm commitment from any [supermarket] on that.”
She added that in order to launch the scheme in August, “this does require prompt and full co-operation.”
Subscribe to Grocery Gazette for free
Retailers having previously welcomed an open data platform for fuel prices to give motorists full transparency into pricing.
At a hearing on 27 June, Tesco commercial director, Gordon Gafa said that the supermarket would be “happy to submit data to an app or website”, while Sainsbury’s food commercial director Rhian Bartlett said it would be “very supportive”.
Earlier this month, energy minister Grant Shapps told The Sun that he would “change the law” and would be “slamming the brakes down on the mistreatment of motorists” as sky-high fuel prices have surged in recent months.
However, last week he retreated from plans to pass legislation that would see supermarkets forced to provide customers with live, transparent fuel price data, and instead backed the CMA’s voluntary scheme.
Yesterday’s round of questioning also saw Asda co-owner Mohsin Issa concur with chief commerical officer Kris Comerford’s previous comments at a hearing in June, arguing “the pricing strategy has not changed, we remain the price leader in fuel”.
MPs described the session as “drawing teeth” as they accused Issa of failing to answer questions on not just fuel but the supermarket’s financing and its treatment of staff.