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Sunday, March 02, 2014

Storm in a teacup

Whilst the Labour Party was busy changing its rules yesterday, it seemed that the media had other preoccupations. Indeed, a Labour own-goal completely over-shadowed any good news coming out of their special conference.

As the Financial Times reports the Labour Party has accused Waitrose of stealing trade from small high street shops by giving a million free coffees and newspapers to its customers every week:

In its latest salvo against big business, Labour said the myWaitrose loyalty scheme was having a “stark effect” on small coffee shops and newsagents across the UK.

Andy Sawford, shadow communities minister, has written to every MP with a local Waitrose asking them to press the chain to make changes to the scheme in the “spirit of fair competition”.

Mr Sawford urged MPs of all parties to write to Mark Price, managing director of Waitrose to tell “him that his company is acting in a way that will further destroy the British high street”.

Mr Price described Labour’s claimed as “nonsense” and said Mr Salford was “completely misguided”.

As the paper says, up until  now Waitrose has been held up by politicians from all parties as the model of good capitalism. Nick Clegg has even called for a fairer “John Lewis economy” in reference to Waitrose’s parent company, which is owned by its staff.

However, Labour appears once more to have set its face against consumer choice and competition in an intervention that earns the title of the most bizarre of 2014 so far.
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