Chancellor Jeremy Hunt will question consumer watchdogs on Wednesday over what powers they can use to help lower prices as concerns grow that firms are exploiting rampant inflation to boost their profits.

He is set to meet the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), and the regulators for the energy, water and communications sectors to press them on whether there is a profiteering problem and what they are doing to tackle it.

The meeting with the CMA, Ofgem, Ofwat and Ofcom comes after the Bank of England suggested some retailers were hiking prices or failing to pass on lower costs to consumers as a way of increasing their profit margins at a time of stubborn inflation.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak warned retailers about pricing “responsibly and fairly”, saying household weekly shopping bills had “gone up far too much in the past few months”.

Mr Hunt also confirmed that ministers were talking to the food industry about “potential measures to ease the pressure on consumers”.

READ MORE: Inflation rate remains unchanged in May new figures show

He is expected to back a CMA review of food prices and reportedly sees regulators playing a central role in helping curb inflation.

Supermarkets insisted in a committee hearing with MPs on Tuesday that they were not profiteering, with Tesco claiming the group was the “most competitive we have ever been”.

The supermarket chiefs were quizzed by the Business and Trade Committee on allegations that they were using inflation as a cover to raise prices, but told MPs they were not passing on all their costs to shoppers.

The chains added they were not in favour of a cap on the price of basic food items, recently considered by the Government.

The accusations of profiteering have sparked a backlash from the industry, with the British Retail Consortium, the trade body representing the sector, saying there had been a “regular stream of price cuts” by supermarkets despite experiencing “extremely tight” profit margins.

It followed official figures last week that showed Consumer Prices Index inflation failed to ease as hoped in May, remaining at 8.7%, with food inflation easing back only slightly to 18.4%.

READ MORE: Is Tesco right to be optimistic about food prices?

The Bank subsequently raised interest rates to a 15-year high last week in a shock move designed to tame inflation.

Mr Sunak on Sunday urged cash-strapped Britons to “hold our nerve” over high interest rates as he stressed “there is no alternative” to stamping out inflation.

He said “inflation is the enemy” as he defended the Bank’s rate hike, even as it piled pressure on mortgage-holders.

The Chancellor, last week, agreed measures with banks aimed at cooling the mortgage crisis, including allowing borrowers to extend the term of their mortgages or move to an interest-only plan temporarily.