Tower Hamlets Council is keeping up the pressure on Tesco over its changes to store structures (converting Tesco Metro to Tesco Express stores) and the resulting impact on food prices. Tesco Express pricing excludes the supermarket price-match offers, increasing the pricing of regular shopping for residents.

Last month, Mayor Biggs and Cabinet Member Cllr Bustin wrote to the Chief Executive of Tesco calling on him to reverse the price increases that have affected many residents in Tower Hamlets.

Now, Cllr Bustin has led on a cross-London letter to the Chief Executive on the issue, co-signed by Leaders and Cabinet Members from Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Harrow, Hackney, Ealing, Lewisham and Islington.

A motion on the issue will also be debated at the next Full Council meeting, proposed by Cllr Amina Ali who represents Bow East, a ward which has recently seen a Tesco Metro rebranded as a Tesco Express. The rebranding has an impact on many households across Bow; the two wards Bow East and Bow West have over 3,700 households claiming housing benefit or council tax reduction, and nearly 2,900 households are out of work.

Tower Hamlets Council has highlighted the work it does to tackle food poverty in its new Poverty Review, which looked at what Tower Hamlets Council has done to support residents who are living on a low income, with a focus on child poverty and pensioner poverty.

John Biggs, Mayor of Tower Hamlets, said: “With so many in Tower Hamlets still feeling the financial impact of the pandemic and struggling with rising food prices, it’s important that we stand up for the poorest in our community and keep up the pressure on Tesco to reverse the price rises.”

Cllr Mufeedah Bustin, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, said: “It is the poorest in our society that have borne the brunt of the Tesco price increases as many simply do not have the option to travel further afield to access larger stores where prices will be lower. Our letter to the Tesco Chief Executive, from leaders and cabinet members across London, goes to show the scale of this problem and the number of people across the capital who are affected.”

Cllr Amina Ali, Mayoral Adviser for Mental Health and who is proposing the full council motion, said: “We’re bringing a motion to full council to ensure that the voices of those hurt by the price rises will be heard loud and clear. Tower Hamlets has one of the highest levels of child poverty in the country, and many residents are already feeling the triple whammy of the end of Universal Credit uplift, furlough scheme ending, and a looming increase in National Insurance contributions.”

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