22 May 1998
Cunningham backs supermarkets

FARM minister Jack Cunningham this week rejected claims by Liberal-Democrat MP Colin Breed that supermarkets had too much buying power and needed to be subjected to an industry-wide code of practice.

Mr Breed produced a report Checking Out The Supermarkets: Competition in Retailing. It alleges that the food retail industry is anti-competitive and calls for the introduction of new rules to regulate supermarkets buying and distribution systems.

But Dr Cunningham said that, while many farmers were disgruntled with supermarkets buying power, millions of consumers thought they were a good thing.

“I do not see any future in getting into some kind of war with supermarkets,” he said.

“They are here, they are going to stay, they have widely increased consumer choice and they are very competitive. The idea that somehow the Governments going to get into a position of attacking or undermining supermarkets is not on the agenda.”

  • For this and other stories, see Farmers Weekly, 22-28 May, 1998

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