A study of the cost of a small weekly shop in one council area by Citizens’ Advice Scotland found that prices more than doubled the further a shopper moved from a better-off area, even when the difference was only a few miles.
The Cost of Living: D&G Shop Check report found that the difference adds up to hundreds of pounds a year, and dis-proportionally affects families at the lower end of the economic scale.
Teams from CAS spent a week visiting stores across Dumfries and Galloway, buying an identical shopping list of food comprising bread, milk, cheese, baked beans, ham and organce juice.
Essential items such as toilet rolls, tea bags, margarine and nappies were also included, and bills varied between just under £10 to more than £20 in other areas.
Sue Irving, Chief Executive of D&G CAS, said: “Local people will be shocked but possibly not surprised by what we have found in this study.
“It reveals that shops across Dumfries & Galloway are charging massive differences in prices for the same basic household goods, costing some families hundreds of pounds a year.”
CAS staff visited 38 shops across Dumfries and Gallloway, and found that prices ro se the further they got from urban areas, with the cost of a trolley of items ranging from £9.95 at Tesco in Annan to £22.26 at the Co-Op in Sanquhar, an increase of £12.31.
The report found that Upper Nithsdale, an area said to be among the ten per cent most deprived in Scotland according to the Index of Multiple Deprivation, was the most expensive, while nearby Annandale was cheapest.
A ‘rural’ premium also exists, with country shops more expensive, while the co-operative was found to be the most expensive of the chainstores visited.
Ms Irving added: “We think this is difficult to justify particularly when so many local people are struggling to make ends meet.
“Worst of all, there were clear trends indicating that shoppers in the most deprived and the most rural areas were paying a premium.”
Launching the report yesterday, CAS Campaigns Officer Daniel Gray said: “This research was carried out entirely by the excellent local CAB team here in Dumfries and Galloway, though it has national implications.
“If prices can vary so much in this region, it could be the case that other rural areas are hit in the pocket like this.”
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