UK GB Tesco Dave Lewis

The chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs select committee has called for answers from Tesco following their proposed purchasing alliance.

Neil Parish, MP for Tiverton and Honiton, published a letter composed to Tesco CEO Dave Lewis posing four questions on the possible effects of the merger.

The letter was made public on the same day that French competition authorities announced they were probing the retail giant's new partnership, as part of a wider review on French supermarket supply chain practises.

Parish has been a vocal sceptic of the Sainsbury’s-Asda tie-up with regard to its effect on farmers and suppliers, telling bosses Mike Coupe and Roger Burnley during a select committee “you can’t have 10 per cent savings without somebody else paying for it”.

In his letter to Lewis, addressed 4 July, Parish said: “I am writing to seek clarity on the proposed strategic alliance between Tesco and Carrefour.

“You will be aware of our interest in the effect of such alliances and mergers on UK based suppliers and producers.”

Parish asks why they two giants have entered into a strategic alliance, and what plans there are for a long-term alliance following the initial three-year framework touted by Tesco.

In his final question Parish asks: “It has been reported that one of the aims of this alliance is to increase Tesco’s buying power and so reduce the amount paid to suppliers and producers. To what degree will this alliance lead to reductions in the price paid by consumers on everyday products?

“How will this alliance impact on smaller-scale UK-based food producers and suppliers? Do you anticipate reductions in the prices paid by Tesco to such suppliers over the short-to-medium term?”

Parish asked for Lewis to respond by 11 July, with the intention to publish the response on their page. It remains to be seen whether Lewis will face a select committee inquiry like Sainsbury’s and Asda bosses, Mike Coupe and Roger Burnley, did following their merger deal.