A Tesco boss has revealed worried customers are asking checkout staff to stop scanning their purchases once their bills have reached a certain limit. John Allan, chairman of the retailer, said it was further evidence of the impact of cost of living pressures.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Mr Allan said he had seen for himself how the supermarket’s customers were being “extremely strained” by soaring prices. During a recent visit to a Tesco store, he saw customers asking staff to stop scanning items, reports the MEN.
Mr Allan said it had been a long time since he had seen this happen at checkouts. “I was hearing for the first time in many years customers saying to checkout staff, ‘stop when you get to £40’ or ‘I don’t want to spend a penny on this’,” he said. declared to the program.
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“You know, instead of checking everything and settling the bill at the end. So I think a lot of people feel something like a pinch and a lot of people actually feel extremely tense.
Mr Allan believes that there is now a “compelling need” for an exceptional tax on energy companies. Hoping to see concrete action in the Queen’s Speech, he said: “First of all, I’m thinking of action to help people cope with a very, very steep rise in energy prices.
“It’s harder for people to mitigate energy than with food, and I think there’s an overwhelming argument for a windfall tax on the profits of energy producers going back to those who need the most help with energy prices. I think that would be the greatest thing that could be done.
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Mr Allan thinks energy companies are ‘expecting’ a windfall tax and he doubts ‘they are really confused by it’. As it happens, an Energy Security Bill was proposed in the Queen’s Speech, but it focused more on long-term measures than on reducing current pressures on household bills.
There was a promise to extend the price cap, which limits the price energy companies can charge for energy. The cap, introduced in 2019, was to be temporary and only remain in place until 2023.
The bill paves the way for it to become a more permanent part of the market – but the price cap only reflects the market, not thwarts it.
Labor and the Lib Dems have also called for a windfall tax on oil and gas companies to help ease the cost of living crisis. Shell last week revealed record first-quarter profits on the back of soaring oil and gas prices, just days after its rival BP reported a bumper profit.
The oil giant posted better-than-expected underlying profit for the first three months of 2022 at US$9.1bn (£7.2bn) – almost three times the $3.2bn (£2.5bn) reported a year earlier. On Tuesday May 3, BP, another FTSE 100 company, showed its highest quarterly underlying profit in more than a decade at US$6.2bn (£5bn).
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