Deputy wants price fix in Jersey

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Deputy wants price fix in Jersey

Post by GD on Wed 04 Jan 2012, 8:11 pm

The price of every single item on sale in Jersey could be fixed by the government, if one Deputy gets his way.

Deputy Geoff Southern is pushing for an investigation into so called "price control".

The argument goes that it is a better way of keeping costs down rather than leaving it to competition.

Deputy Southern said: "Healthy competition is not bringing prices down. This is a small jurisdiction and competition doesn't necessarily bring prices down. Petrol is the example. We're paying 14p per litre over the top. That can't be allowed to exist."

A report has been produced calling on the Economic Development Minister to investigate the potential for the government, or the competition watchdog the JCRA, to control prices.

It means the price of everything in all shops would no longer be in the hands of manufacturers and shopkeepers.

St Helier Deputy Geoff Southern is proposing the plan and if his idea sees the light of day, it would theoretically put all retailers on a level playing field.

But the politician who is being asked to look into the possibility of government price controls thinks it is a non-starter, backing the view of the JCRA who say it is "neither practical nor beneficial to attempt to regulate the entire Jersey market in this way. It would also be unprecedented in any developed economy that we are aware of."

The debate was triggered by escalating petrol prices. The question now is whether politicians feel they should take control of the cost of everything in Jersey.

David Warr, President of the Chamber of Commerce, says the idea is not a realistic one.

He said: "I think that's almost impossible to even conceive that it's a real possibility. We'd end up with Soviet regimes here whereby they determine the price of everything and that's completely counter to any market economy thinking.

"The reason he's getting involved in this discussion is the rate at which prices are going up and somehow that's got something to do with independent retailers all clubbing together and saying we're going to make vast sums of money. Sadly that isn't the case."
(from CTV)

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