New report finds huge price differences in local shops, with poorest and rural areas hit hardest

 Some shops in Dumfries and Galloway are charging three times as much as others for the same basket of items, according to new research.

Today’s ‘Cost of Living’ report by Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service (D&G CAS) finds that the cost of a basket of essential everyday items ranged from £8.79 to £24.70 across the region.

 Other findings include:

  • shoppers in the poorest and more rural areas are on average paying the highest prices,
  • all of the big supermarket chains are charging very different prices for the same items in different stores just a few miles apart.
  • Nappies and tampons, critical items, have some of the largest price differentials and in fact are often unavailable in local shops.

 Publishing the research today, D&G CAS Chief Executive Sue Irving says,

 “We did similar research in 2014 and found significant price variations then, so we wanted to update that research to see if the problems still existed. Our report today shows that local shops are still charging hugely different prices in different areas, and those shoppers paying the most are often those who can least afford it.

 “Our report this time also uncovers a significant issue with the big supermarket chains. We found that all of these are charging significantly different prices for the same items in their individual stories across the region. We can see no obvious justification for this and so we intend to write to all of the supermarket chains to ask for an explanation of their pricing policies.

 “Another issue we found is that the cost of tampons and nappies varied hugely across the region, and indeed these critical items were often unavailable in local shops. This suggests that women and young families face particular problems when shopping locally.

 “Overall the research finds that the price variations we first uncovered three years ago still exist, and indeed in many ways have got worse. Clearly our evidence suggests that people could make savings by shopping around, but the size and geography of our region makes that difficult, particularly for those on low incomes and those reliant on public transport.

 “Shops are an important part of any local community, particularly those in smaller rural towns and villages like those across Dumfries and Galloway. We understand that transportation costs are a concern for all businesses but we ask that the supermarket chains will reflect on the data we have published today and ensure that they are treating customers fairly.”  

 The ‘Cost of Living 2017’ report is available on the report section of our website.