Coronavirus: Mayor of Newham urges government to grant councils emergency powers to act against price gouging
- Credit: Archant
The mayor is calling for more powers to tackle “unscrupulous” businesses trying to profit from the coronavirus pandemic.
Rokhsana Fiaz wants the government to grant Newham and other councils emergency powers to take action against businesses which have hiked the price of food and essentials.
Ms Fiaz, in a statement online, said: “It is immoral that a minority [is] seeking to profit in this time of national crisis, especially when people in Newham are facing severe economic hardship.”
In a letter, Ms Fiaz urged business secretary, Alok Sharma MP, to grant councils powers to end such “unscrupulous activity”.
Delivery driver, Saeed Khan, 29, estimated that prices at his usual grocer’s had doubled or tripled, putting his family’s finances under strain.
You may also want to watch:
“There’s no work, no business. People are not making money, and they are charging so much. They can’t do this,” the father of two said.
The Recorder has received reports of hikes in Green Street, Royal Docks and Beckton where one man, who asked not be named, was charged £19.98 for a baby chicken.
- 1 Jailed man caught with knife in Stratford to be handed court order
- 2 Cause of death remains unknown after body found in disused Forest Gate pub
- 3 Thames Barrier closing for 200th time amid potential east London flooding
- 4 Worshippers at mosque in Upton Park aim to raise £35k for Royal British Legion's Poppy Appeal 2021
- 5 Man given community order for 26 counts of criminal damage after scratching name into property
- 6 Forest Gate triple shooting: 'Safety is everybody's business,' councillor says
- 7 Body found in derelict pub in Forest Gate
- 8 Hundreds arrested after police crackdown on county lines
- 9 Newham mathematician to fill in for Countdown presenter and expectant mum Rachel Riley
- 10 Player ratings: Cresswell shines for West Ham in KRC Genk victory
However, a Forest Gate greengrocer, who also asked not to be named, said market wholesale prices had rocketed.
“The prices are crazy. It’s mental. Normally, I pay £2,000 for delivery, now I pay £9,000. We’re not making money. We’re working for nothing.
“We have to pass the price to the customer, we’ve no choice. I don’t want to destroy my custom, but I can’t do anything about it,” he added.
By way of example, he reported okra had shot up from £8.50 per kilogram to £20.
Watchdog, the Competition and Markets Authority, urged retailers to behave responsibly, vowing to consider any evidence companies may have broken competition or consumer protection law.
It has set up a task force to identify harmful sales and pricing practices, including of hand sanitiser, vowing to act where necessary.
Andrea Coscelli, the CMA’s chief executive, said: “This is obviously a time when we all have to behave responsibly to protect our fellow citizens, and particularly those who are most vulnerable.
“We urge retailers to behave responsibly. But if they do not, our taskforce is monitoring market developments to enable us to intervene as quickly as possible.”
To report a business you suspect of price gouging visit gov.uk/government/collections/cma-covid-19-response and follow the link.