The UK government has temporarily relaxed elements of its competition law as part of its Covid-19 stimulus package to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the nation.
In these extraordinary and challenging times it is important that we remove barriers to our supermarkets working together to serve customers, particularly those who are elderly, ill or vulnerable in all parts of the UK. Environment Secretary George Eustice
The move allows retailers to share data with each other on stock levels, cooperate to keep shops open, or share distribution depots and delivery vans. It would also allow retailers to pool staff with one another to help meet demand.
The Environment Secretary George Eustice confirmed elements of the law would be temporarily waived in a meeting this afternoon with chief executives from the UK’s leading supermarkets and food industry representatives.
In addition, rules around driving hours have also been relaxed to allow retailers to deliver more food to stores. The government has also waived the 5p plastic bag charge for online purchases to speed up deliveries.
The support for supermarkets comes as the government and retailers continue to urge people to shop considerately and look out for their friends, family and neighbours. The Environment Secretary will continue to meet regularly with representatives of the food industry to ensure people can get the food and groceries they need.