Yolanda Díaz (right) is convinced the move is necessary. / PHOTO: efe / VIDEO: ATLAS

Supermarkets in Spain urged to cap the price of some essential items

Not all government ministers are in favour of the idea, but deputy PM Yolanda Díaz and minister for consumer affairs Alberto Garzón are planning to hold talks with major retailers soon

LUCÍA PALACIOS Madrid

Some ministers in the Spanish government are proposing a cap on the price of basic food items to help people cope with rising inflation, as has been done with the cost of gas and face masks. Deputy prime minister Yolanda Díaz said on Monday (5 September) that she and the minister for consumer affairs, Alberto Garzón, plan to meet major retailers to try to come to an agreement over the issue.

“The cost of food is an enormous problem nowadays, not only for people in general but also small and medium producers,” she told the media as she arrived for an event in Madrid.

Díaz’s idea is to “fix” the price of 20 or 30 items from the basic food shop, such as milk, bread, eggs and fruit, among others, to stop them constantly increasing.

She said it is wrong for someone who grows oranges to sell them to stores for 15 cents a kilo and for consumers to have to pay 1.40 euros a kilo, as this is an increase of over 880%. The same goes for potatoes, which are being sold in supermarkets for around 1.35 euros a kilo while the grower is only paid 20 cents. That is a mark-up of 575%. The list of similar products is quite long, and it includes garlic, milk etc.

“The price of the basic shop is a problem for a lot of people in our country. Not only because they are losing purchasing power, but because everyone needs to be able to eat healthily," Díaz insisted.

The idea is to reach an agreement with retailers rather than have to draw up a new regulation. However, other members of the government have yet to be convinced: minister for agriculture Luis Planas, for example, said at the weekend that he was opposed to the idea and doesn’t know if it is legal or desirable.

He is also against the idea of introducing an extra tax on the retail sector, a measure proposed by the Unidas Podemos coalition party.