An economic think-tank has suggested the Competition Commission should be scrapped completely unless it gets tougher with some of our biggest retailers.

The New Economics Foundation has warned Britain is in growing peril of becoming a “one supermarket state” because of the commission’s refusal to use its powers.

The warning comes in a critical submission by the foundation to the on-going inquiry into the UK grocery market.

The commission launched this latest inquiry almost 12 months ago and is focusing on the impact of big chains on local markets. The finger is primarily being pointed at Tesco, which currently has 31% of the grocery market in Britain – almost the same as Asda and Sainsbury’s combined.

But Andrew Simms, of the NEF, complains of feeling a sense of “groundhog day” about the inquiry and points to the failure of the commission to act decisively in recent years.

“If the commission can’t do its job and put in place checks and balances that could ensure genuinely open markets, people will be justified in questioning exactly what the commission is for,” he adds in a statement.

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