Blog: Dean BestUK competition fines soar in 2007

Dean Best | 3 January 2008

Some UK business leaders may have raised an eyebrow at news that fines imposed by the UK’s competition watchdog soared in 2007.

The Office of Fair Trading’s fines reached GBP237m last year, a figure that, according to the Daily Telegraph, would anger some who see the watchdog as having a “publicity-seeking agenda”.

But would consumers affected by price-fixing in the UK dairy sector see it that way?

The OFT said moves to fix the price of milk, cheese and butter costs UK consumers some GBP270m during 2002 and 2003.

Retailers like Asda and dairy processors including Dairy Crest claimed that were trying to help farmers. However, at that time, farmers were quitting milk production in droves, tired of not being able to make a reasonable return – or even cover costs – from selling their milk.

Perhaps if farmers had been paid a decent price in the first place, the supermarkets and dairy processors wouldn’t have to resort to such under-hand tactics.

Many consumers will applaud the OFT for attempting to hit companies in the pocket for their indiscretions.


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