The Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Seán Fleming TD (pictured), has slammed the government's unwillingness to demand retailers disclose their margins in Ireland.
"The big boys have won again, and the consumer loses out," the Laois-Offaly TD said during a debate on the new Competition and Consumer Protection Bill.
"The Minister quotes EU company law and accounting standards, and I know that accounting standards require geographic details in respect of turnover, but the Minister does not want to go down the road of a disclosure regime in respect of the margin. I would say that there is a specific case for the island of Ireland when it comes to margins," Fleming said.
The Bill does not call for retailers based overseas (such as Tesco, Aldi or Lidl) to disclose their margins in Ireland, with the Department recently noting that retailer financial statements are governed by relevant EU law regulations which decree that Irish subsidiaries 'need not produce consolidated accounts provided certain conditions are met'.
"That is not in the interest of people on this island," Fleming added. "This legislation is failing the Irish consumer in addressing the different margins that apply and the purchasing power of the multiples."
Fleming also spoke out against the practice of below-cost selling of alcohol products, describing the the current situation, where retailers that sell products below cost can avail of a VAT refund, as "absurd. Not only are supermarkets destroying the young population by making the drink so readily available, they can in turn get a VAT refund because they sell below cost."
He added: "This is morally wrong and should not be allowed to continue. It is doing immense damage. These are the issues with which we should be dealing in regard to competition and below-cost selling when dealing with this legislation."
© 2014 - Checkout Magazine by Stephen Wynne-Jones