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A major retailer has moved to cut the cost of baby formula after a Sky News investigation revealed the impact of high prices on families.

Iceland has confirmed it will sell 800g of SMA’s Little Steps formula milk for £7.95 across its stores and online from Tuesday morning, which is £1.80 cheaper than its rivals.

Last year Sky News revealed the dangerous steps some parents were taking to feed their babies due to spiralling costs.

Richard Walker, executive chairman of Iceland Foods, said: “We have a moral obligation to take action.

“The prime minister has said he is ‘sad’ families are watering down formula to try and make it last longer, but again these are just words and Iceland is today taking further action.”

The formula milk industry is already under investigation after prices rose by an average of 25% in the past two years.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said it is examining whether companies have been profiteering at the expense of parents.

Last autumn the World Health Organisation told Sky News that families were being “exploited” over the rising prices.

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Baby formula prices under scrutiny

‘Why can’t it happen everywhere?’

SMA Little Steps formula is owned by multinational manufacturer Nestle who, along with Danone, control 85% of the infant milk market.

A Nestle spokesperson said: “Final pricing is always at the sole discretion of the retailer.”

Erin Williams, from the infant feeding charity FeedUK, told Sky News: “It highlights how much flexibility there really is within the pricing of baby formula.

“If it can be sold cheaper in Iceland why can’t it happen everywhere?”

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She added: “Families are really hesitant to change brands on price alone and there is still this perception that the most expensive formulas are better – that does need to change.

“All first infant formulas are nutritionally equivalent.”

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From November: ‘Are families being exploited? Yes’

‘Quite embarrassing’

Mum Payzee Malika, from west London, has raised thousands of pounds to help struggling families fund baby formula.

She told Sky News: “It is definitely going to help but it is quite embarrassing that Iceland are having to do that when the government could do more to make all retailers and manufacturers do more.

“It can be done – it is not going to make these companies crumble if they really think about children’s needs and the wellbeing of families – every conversation I have with parents who are struggling you can see how it is harming their mental health.”

The pressure to act on behalf of families has grown over the past year – the government has said it will await the findings of the CMA’s investigation, which is set to conclude in September.

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Five people arrested after police discover ‘human remains of young baby’ in Wigan

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Five people arrested after police discover 'human remains of young baby' in Wigan

Five people have been arrested after police discovered what they believe to be human remains of a young baby.

Officers said those detained, aged between 20-70, were held on suspicion of concealing a death and unlawful burial.

They have all been bailed pending further enquiries.

The investigation, prompted by welfare concerns, is focused on an address in Marsh Green, Wigan, and a location on Valley Road in Pemberton.

Chief Superintendent Clare Jenkins from Greater Manchester Police’s Wigan district said: “This is a truly heartbreaking discovery, and I do not underestimate the impact that this news will have on the local community.”

An address in Marsh Green, Wigan
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An address in Marsh Green, Wigan

Addressing the local community, she said: “I would like to reassure you that we have several teams of officers and specialist resources working diligently to find answers.

“You will likely notice an increased presence of our officers throughout the next week, if you have any concerns or want to share any confidential information, please do not hesitate to speak to them.”

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She added: “In the coming days we will know more about the circumstances surrounding this incident, but we are confident that this is isolated, and there is no threat to the wider public.”

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Liz Truss was ‘ecstatic’ with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

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Liz Truss was 'ecstatic' with mini-budget plan and claims Number 10 infested with fleas in new memoir

Liz Truss has revealed she considered abolishing the UK’s economic watchdog and replacing leaders at the Treasury and Bank of England, accusing the bodies of being “pro-China” and “pro-Remain”.

The country’s shortest serving prime minister said she discussed scrapping the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) with her Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng but concluded it would have “amounted to a declaration of war on the economic establishment”.

In an extract from her memoir published by the Daily Mail, Ms Truss says the OBR, Treasury, and Bank of England “were more interested in balancing the books than growing the economy” and saw immigration “as a way of fixing the public finances”.

Defending her September 2022 mini-budget – which led to a surge in borrowing costs and saw the pound slump to a 37-year low against the dollar – the former prime minister said she would “accept that the communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”.

However, she said the afternoon after which Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng outlined the growth plan was “probably my happiest moment as prime minister” adding “I was ecstatic”.

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Truss’ time as PM

Mr Kwarteng was sacked three weeks later amid rising mortgage costs, before most measures in the statement were axed in an attempt to stabilise financial markets.

Kwasi Kwarteng
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Kwasi Kwarteng was also sacked following the mini-budget. Pic: PA

The serialisation also includes behind-the-scenes details of domestic life as a senior government figure.

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While foreign secretary, Ms Truss says she was forced to share the grace-and-favour Chevening mansion in Kent with her predecessor Dominic Raab and would find “protein shakes labelled ‘Raab’ in the fridge”.

Anecdotes, complaints and lamentations – but a lack of self-awareness


Rob Powell Political reporter

Rob Powell

Political correspondent

@robpowellnews

Given Liz Truss is the shortest-serving prime minister in UK history and given she oversaw an economic meltdown and was forced to fire her own Chancellor and repeal most of her policy offering, the extracts of her memoirs are strikingly bereft of any self-criticism or self-awareness.

As the political blogger Sam Freeman has pointed, bits of the book feel like a ‘what I did on my holidays school essay’.

There’s amusing and eminently readable anecdotes about trying to get Ocado shops delivered to Downing Street, taking her children into the government nuclear bunker, and finding Dominic Raab’s protein shakes in the fridge at the foreign secretary’s country residence.

There’s also some complaining.

The former Prime Minister laments having to book her own hair and make up and says a lack of medical support meant her private secretary had to get her cough medicine in the middle of the night.

She says living in Downing Street was “intensely claustrophobic” and she was “effectively a prisoner”.

It’s an open question whether that stirs much sympathy with those who saw their mortgage rates soar during her chaotic 50 days in office.

Then there’s the now familiar defence of her economic strategy, which once again seems to consist of blaming everyone bar herself.

In four pages of text, I spotted just two flashes of introspection.

She acknowledges that the “communications around the mini-budget were not as good as they could have been”. But then neuters that mea culpa by adding: “But I have to ask: what would we have been waiting for?”

She also says the late Queen had told her to “pace yourself”, before adding “maybe I should have listened”.

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The Norfolk MP is also critical of the levels of personal support offered to UK prime ministers saying “despite now being one of the most photographed people in the country, I had to organise my own hair and make-up appointments”.

She described the prime ministerial flat above the Number 10 offices as infested with fleas that some claimed came from her predecessor Boris Johnson’s dog Dilyn.

Ms Truss also revealed she and her husband had ordered new furniture for the residence “but were evicted before it could be delivered”.

The death of the Queen is also described in the extracts, with Ms Truss saying the fact it happened on her second full day as prime minister left her in a “state of shock” and thinking “Why me? Why now?”.

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