Price-Fixing Fix-up F*-up

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A knight on a horseThe Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has determined that Arla, Asda, Dairy Crest, McLelland, Safeway, Sainsbury’s, The Cheese Company, Wiseman, and Tesco co-ordinated rises in the consumer prices for certain dairy products in 2002 and, or, 2003. OFT awarded fines between 1.26 and 11.04 million pounds, adding up to a total penalty of almost £50,000,000.00 (BBC article here).

So, the radio presenter Liza Tarbuck wonders, where does all this money go?

It goes, business correspondent Pauline McCole explains, into the treasury’s bucket.

T’is a real shame. I am with Liza on this. These companies cheat the consumer and possibly the supplier, are being fined and we end up paying a new submarine with it? Or the MP’s duck house? Or the National Police Improvement Agency‘s (NPIA) £6.5m credit card bill?

I think any fines paid anywhere should be used in the context in which they arose.

Parking fines should go towards the provision and maintenance of adequate car park space, public transport and similar measures. Speeding tickets should pay for traffic calming measures. Drunk-driving penalties would go towards education, price fixing penalties towards housing and child support benefit. Fines for not paying child support should go directly into an account in the name of the child.


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