The Office of Fair Trading’s decision to refer the grocery sector to the Competition Commission for investigation could cost the Treasury £2m, John Fingleton, chief executive of the Office of Fair Trading has estimated.

Speaking to the Observer, Fingleton also said that if the Competition Commission’s inquiry led to planning reforms, this would allow new entrants to the market, which in turn would decrease prices.

“If the benefits are 1% of what is a near £100bn market, then that puts the cost of the investigation into perspective,” he added.