Competition law relaxed to help supermarkets

The Government will temporarily relax elements of competition law as part of measures to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the nation. It will allow 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 to help meet demands. This will be a specific, temporary relaxation to enable retailers to work together for the sole purpose of feeding the nation during these unprecedented circumstances, and will not allow any activity that does not meet this requirement.

The Government has also temporarily relaxed rules around drivers’ hours so that retailers can deliver more food to stores. This follows a series of measures introduced to support the food industry’s response to coronavirus, including working with local authorities to extend the hours that deliveries can be made to supermarkets to ensure stores are replenished quickly. 

The Environment Secretary continues to meet regularly with representatives of the food industry to ensure that it gets the support it needs. While the UKs food supply chain remains resilient, the Government and retailers have urged people to shop considerately and look out for their friends, families and neighbours.