SOUTH Down MP Margaret Ritchie has asked the Environment, Food and Rural affairs Select committee in the House of Commons to give immediate consideration to an inquiry into the rising cost of food prices and the consequential impact on the farming community, consumers and wider society.
Miss Ritchie said the report issued earlier this week by the Consumer Council Northern Ireland provides instructive evidence that prices in food have substantially increased in Northern Ireland at a time when local communities have less money to purchase essential commodities such as food.
She added: “At the same time, Government persists in undertaking cost cutting measures in social security benefits, and pension entitlements. Alongside this, there is also the constant threat to public sector salaries, and job losses in the private sector including the closure of retail outlets and the near collapse of the construction industry.
“The timely report from the Consumer Council and the daily evidence from constituents that they are finding it difficult to make ends meet has meant that I think it is now prudent for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee of which I am a member in the House of Commons to consider an inquiry into the rising cost of food prices. I have already raised this issue at the Committee meeting last week, and in view of the report from the Consumer Council, I think it is now proper for such an inquiry to take place,” she added.
“I will pursue this matter to ensure a better deal in food prices for all consumers in Northern Ireland.”