UK: competition and drivers' hours laws relaxed, to feed the nation

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“The UK government temporarily relaxed elements of competition law as part of a package of measures to allow supermarkets to work together to feed the country.

The move gives retailers the ability to share data with each other on stock levels, cooperate to keep shops open, or share distribution depots and delivery vans. It also allows retailers to pool staff with one another to help meet demand.

“We’ve listened to the powerful arguments of our leading supermarkets and will do whatever it takes to help them feed the nation,” said Environment Secretary George Eustice, who worked with chief executives from the UK’s leading supermarkets. “By relaxing elements of competition laws temporarily, our retailers can work together on their contingency plans and share the resources they need with each other during these unprecedented circumstances. We welcome the measures supermarkets are already taking to keep shelves stocked and supply chains resilient, and will continue to support them with their response to coronavirus.”

The government has also temporarily relaxed rules around drivers’ hours, so retailers are able to deliver more food to stores, and is waiving the 5p plastic bag charge for online purchases to speed up deliveries.

(…) ‘We know supermarkets have seen unprecedented demand in light of COVID-19,” Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said. “We’re relaxing the GB drivers’ hours rules so that supermarkets can complete more home deliveries – which is especially important for vulnerable people at this time. But driver welfare is of course key and we will be working closely with employers to make sure the safety of their drivers and other people on the road is protected.”

Sources: Produce Business UK

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