Fleet News

'Rip-off Britain' argument 'flawed and meaningless' says retail consortium

WITH the Competition Commission's long-awaited report into UK new car prices now delivered to the Department of Trade and Industry, a consortium has claimed that the 'rip-off Britain' argument is 'so flawed as to be meaningless'. Independent economics consultancy London Economics' new report, 'Rip-off Britain - myths and realities' for the British Retail Consortium, states consumers cannot expect prices to be the same across Europe and the USA while obstacles to competition and free trade remain in place.

Differing sales taxes, exchange rates, product specifications and the varying spending patterns between countries could all explain price differences between countries. Report author Professor John Kay said: 'If the Government wishes to see lower prices in the UK, it needs to turn its attention towards the operation of the differing power of manufacturers between countries, differences in taxes and the higher property costs faced by retailers in the UK.'

British Retail Consortium deputy chairman Alastair Eperon, said: 'Any debate on prices first needs to acknowledge the fact that levels of service and costs faced by retailers vary significantly between countries and these differences mean prices for retailed goods will differ. Any comparison overlooking the barriers to international price convergence is so flawed as to be meaningless.'

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