There are claims government has had 'little or no say' on Tesco's purchase of all of Shoprite's stores because it failed to put in place regulations.

That's because an act of parliament designed to 'regulate' large mergers hasn't been enacted says MHK David Ashford.

According to Mr Ashford, who represents Douglas north, a Competition Act was passed by Tynwald years ago and received Royal Assent in 2021.

However, he claims the regulations required to give the Office of Fair Trading powers to oversee large-scale mergers and acquisitions on the island, such as Tesco's takeover of Shoprite, haven't been put in place.

He has now called on the government not to treat regulations 'like an afterthought' to ensure officials have their say on similar deals in the future.

The government have been contacted for a response

In a statement issued online, Mr Ashford described the purchase of the nine supermarkets as the 'biggest shakeup to our retail offering on island' in more than 50 years.

He added: 'My concern is there appears to have been little to no prior consultation with government about this merger before it happened.

'The Competition Act that was supposed to regulate any large mergers such as this received Royal Assent in 2021, but in the two years since then the required regulations giving OFT the powers to oversee such acquisitions have never been brought forward by government.

'This means government is able to have little or no oversight of the acquisition, or influence on the terms of the merger including the use of local suppliers.

'This shows yet again why it is essential when primary legislation is enacted that the regulations are not treated like an afterthought and are already in the drafting stages when the legislation is brought into force.

'Government after government has used the mantra "shop local" but in order to do that we need to have vibrant local producers and suppliers to use and access goods from. Government's focus now needs to be on engaging with Tesco to ensure that our locally home-grown businesses do not suffer as a result of this change and continue to have access to the retail marketplace that they currently enjoy.'

However, Mr Ashford says his 'primary concern' was the impact the sale could have on local businesses on the island.

He said: 'There are many well-established local businesses that have supplied Shoprite over the years and that trade forms a large part of their own businesses.

'There needs to be certainty over how locally produced goods and local producers and suppliers will feature in this new business model.

'DFE and DEFA need as a matter of urgency to now be engaging with both local suppliers and Tesco on how that is going to be achieved.'