Blog: Dean BestWhy some will milk the OFT's Morrisons apology

Dean Best | 23 April 2008

Sections of the UK dairy industry will cheer this morning’s (23 April) embarrassing climbdown from The Office of Fair Trading.

News that the OFT has admitted some of its claims against Morrisons were wrong will no doubt provoke renewed calls that UK business is being monitored by an over-zealous competition watchdog.

There were, of course, calls during last year’s inquiry into price-fixing in the dairy industry that the OFT had got it all wrong.

It was claimed that retailers and dairy producers had moved to raise prices on milk, butter and cheese in 2002 and 2003, not for financial gain, but to secure supplies amid fears that farmers were fleeing the sector.

However, then – and now – one is inclined to believe that if farmers had been paid a decent price in the first place, then they wouldn’t have been quitting milk production in droves, tired of not being able to make a reasonable return – or even cover costs.

And, like in 2002 and 2003, today’s news of the OFT payout to Morrisons has hit the average UK consumer in the pocket.

Because, of course, the OFT settlement will come direct from HM Treasury.


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