Ministers should consider cutting business rates for small West of England retailers and subsidise energy bills for food manufacturers to bring down the cost of everyday items on shop shelves, according to the West of England’s Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

According to Mr Norris’s Labour Party, the price of food and drink is growing 50% faster than elsewhere in the G7. Figures published last week showed that food prices were surging at their fastest rate for over 45 years with a typical West of England family’s food shop to rise by £700 this year.

Mayor Norris says ministers should consider Labour’s proposals to cut energy bills for domestic food manufacturers and processors, paid for by expanding the windfall tax on oil and gas giants, and cutting business rates for small shops, paid for through a new tax on the online retail giants.

The idea, Mr Norris explains, is to reduce the financial burden on these sectors in the West, and across the country, so that savings could be passed on to customers in the form of lower prices in shops.

He pointed to the ONS saying that inflation could remain in double digits this month unless food inflation is brought down. “The Government has got to get a grip of this”, he says. Soaring food and drink prices meant the cost of living rose more than expected last month – with overall inflation at 10.1%.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “Food prices are out of control in the West of England, with working families in the region literally paying the price. The Government has got to get a grip of this – sitting back and doing nothing while the cost of bread, milk and other everyday items become more and more out of reach for residents on the tightest of budgets, as ministers are currently doing, cannot, and must not, be Plan A. Measures like cutting business rates could be vital in getting to the root cause of those sky-high prices in the shops – helping ease the pressure on West of England families and firms.”

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