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Volume 401: debated on Tuesday 18 March 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent (a) representations she has received and (b) discussions she has had regarding the sale of Safeways; and if she will make a statement. [102652]

[holding answer 17 March 2003]: Ministers and officials in Defra have been sent information or views on the sale of Safeway by some of the companies who have expressed an interest in bidding and by the National Consumer Council.Officials have met separately with ASDA, Morrison, Safeway, Sainsbury and Tesco, at the companies' request, to listen to points that they wished to make about the sale of Safeway. Ministers have not been involved in these discussions.