Britons should choose value brands, suggests minister

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – The environment secretary has advised that shoppers may deal with rising food prices and the cost of living crisis by shopping for value brands at supermarkets.

Food prices are rising as a result of the knock-on impact of higher energy costs, which is pushing up fertiliser and feed costs, according to George Eustice, the cabinet minister in charge of food and farming.

In general, what individuals find is that by choosing value brands over own-brand products, they can actually manage and contain their household budget, he said.

It will surely put a strain on household budgets, and it comes on top of the already high gas prices.

He claimed that there was a “very, very competitive retail market” with “ten big supermarkets and the four major ones competing with aggression, particularly on some of the lower-cost, everyday value goods for households, such as spaghetti and ambient products – there is a huge competition to keep those prices down.

Where it gets more difficult is on things like chicken and poultry, as well as some fresh vegetables, Eustice explained, where those increased feed prices do end up passing through the system because these people work on wafer-thin margins and have to pass on that cost.

He also made a suggestion that Elsie, the 77-year-old woman who claimed she was using the buses to stay warm, seek assistance from her local authority. When confronted with the account of her struggle to heat her home, Boris Johnson drew fire for boasting about having brought in free bus passes.

What was his advice to Elsa (sic)? Eustice told Sky News. Well, his recommendation would be to avoid staying on a bus all day in order to stay warm. His advice was to seek assistance from the local government.

Eustice’s comments were criticised by a Labour shadow Treasury minister, Pat McFadden, as woefully out of touch from an administration with no solution to the cost-of-living issue affecting working people.

Wages were falling, fuel and food prices were rising, and families were worrying about how they would make ends meet, he said.

It was past time for the government to provide actual assistance to individuals rather than making comments that show how little they understood the real problems people faced in paying their bills.

These comments suggest the Conservatives and George Eustice are living in a parallel universe, Wendy Chamberlain, the Liberal Democrat work and pensions spokesperson, said.

Families and pensioners who can’t afford to buy groceries on a weekly basis require additional assistance, not patronising counsel from an inept minister.

This is Boris Johnson’s Britain’s harsh reality. Oil and gas companies are making billions, while families are being told to buy value food and retirees are riding around in buses to keep themselves warm, she said.

Kourtney Spak

Kourtney Spak is an american journalist and political commentator. Her journalism career focuses on American domestic policy and also foreign affairs. She also writes on environment, climate change and economy.