MSP Joan McAlpine expressed dismay that some shops in the region charge three times as much as others for the same basket of items.
These findings, unearthed in the ‘Cost of Living’ report by Dumfries and Galloway Citizens Advice Service show that the cost of a basket of essential items ranged from £8.79 to £24.70.
The report highlights the existence of a ‘poverty premium’ – where people in poorer areas pay more for their shopping in then those in less disadvantaged areas.
This is most prevalent in Upper Nithsdale where the average basket price was £18.88 – more than a fifth higher than the average across the rest of the region, and 115% higher than the cheapest basket.
Commenting Ms McAlpine said:
“It is extremely worrying that retailers in the region continue to charge more for their products in less well-off areas.
“It is simply not fair that people in Upper Nithsdale should be expected to pay so much more for the same items.
“We must continue to put pressure on retailers to consider the impact their pricing policies have on already disadvantaged communities.”
In addition to the poverty premium, the report also uncovers a rural premium – with prices tending to go up as the distance from an urban centre increases.
Worryingly, the research uncovered that essential items such as tampons were not available in a number of shops in all areas – prices on these items ranged from 75p in Stranraer and Dumfries to £3.49 in Thornhill and Sanquhar.
Ms McAlpine has tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament to highlight the findings.
“DAGCAS should be commended for the hard work they have put in to this report – it is clear that the poverty premium uncovered three years ago has not improved and it is important to continue to highlight this.
“I hope that by tabling a motion in parliament this will help to show retailers how these price disparities affect our disadvantaged and rural communities.”