Quality and unions keep the prices high
TO dispute a letter in Wednesday’s Western Daily Press: the French do not operate a price-fixing monopoly in their supermarkets. If you shop around like you can in the UK you will find large differences between supermarket chains. Checking the French consumer association website, Que Choisir, in terms of the cheapest, that title goes to Leclerc, and most expensive Monoprix. On a standard shopping basket the difference is 67 euros.
That French prices are dearer is true but that mostly is due to being of better quality than the UK, especially the fruit and veg. The meat is of far better quality and you can get waste fat and tissue removed at the butchers before it is weighed. The main reason for more expense is the French labour code that applies to all employers and the trade unions’ power in preventing cost reductions.
The fact that cigarettes are only sold in tabacs is because they are the only shops licensed to sell tobacco products, similar to Spain. Headache pills are not 10 times the price here. The finance minister in France is currently pushing to end the pharmacy monopoly on non-prescription medicines. Try and buy paracetamol in a chemist here and it is expensive compared to a supermarket.
The UK government opted to have passports produced in Europe not because it had to. It could have chosen a UK supplier on grounds of security. Because they wanted a cheap deal don’t blame EU rules, blame British government.
S Pople Weston-super-Mare