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Fear Supermarket price war will harm farmers

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East of England accountancy firm Moore Thompson has expressed fears that a new round of cost-cutting by supermarkets could lead to a further squeeze on margins for the nations farmers.

Last month saw a mixed bag of results for the nations retailers as the governments austerity programme and severe winter weather took its toll. However, the supermarkets continued their seemingly inevitable rise with all reporting year-on-year sales growth, albeit at a slower pace in some cases.

And the Big Four of Tesco, Sainsburys, Asda and Morrisons are showing no sign of letting up, with all kicking off the New Year with further price cuts.

The National Farmers Union has condemned the latest round of reductions as irresponsible and said it expected smaller family farmers to be hardest hit.

Moore Thompson partner Andrew Heskin said: It does seem as if the major supermarkets are set for another price war and while this may, on the face of it, look like good news for consumers, it is another blow for farmers who may face further downward pressure on prices as a result.

The previous government proposed the introduction of a supermarket ombudsman, to regulate the relationship between retailers and farmers, which had cross-party support. The coalition has said it does plan to introduce such a body but is yet to put a timetable in place. We really need it to do so sooner rather than later.

For more information, please contact Moore Thompson in Spalding on 01775 711333, in Wisbech on 01945 465767 or in Market Deeping on 01778 380850, or visit www.moorethompson.co.uk.

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