For most of the week, one single issue - rioting - had a free rein on the nation’s column inches. Until Wednesday morning, when the Office of Fair Trading boasted that it had slapped a £50m fine on the big boys of the retailing and dairy supply world.
While most retail correspondents jumped at the chance to castigate those power players caught up in the scandal (‘£50 million fine for Great Milk Robbers’: The Daily Mail. Of course), and prominently reported Tesco’s characteristically bolshy threat to sue the OFT (which paper doesn’t enjoy quango-bashing?), few have stopped to consider what lies ahead for the real victims of this almost 10-year long saga.
After all, the price fixing was a result of efforts by those involved to get more money back to farmers at a time when they were reeling from the effects of foot and mouth. The fine doesn’t exactly encourage retailers and suppliers to look favourably on the farming sector in future.
At the other end of the supply chain, experts are asking whether it will be shoppers who are left to pick up the bill through higher milk prices to pay for ‘Butterfingers’ Fingleton’s hefty fine.