Plans due for supermarket watchdog

The government is expected to announce long-awaited plans for a supermarket watchdog.

Ministers from the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills are expected to publish the draft Grocery Adjudicator Bill on Tuesday (24 May).

The draft Bill will detail the proposed structure, remit and operating practices of an adjudicator to oversee the relationship between retailers and their suppliers.

West Cornwall MP Andrew George, who chairs the Grocery Market Action Group, said the Bill was long overdue.

“Every day food producers are going to the wall. And many more are struggling as a result of the market distorting power of the large supermarkets.

“Every day this happens means that the proposed supermarket watchdog is being introduced another day too late.

Mr George said the proposal to establish a supermarket adjudicator had cross-party support.

“The government has no excuse to delay. Speed is of the essence. No time should be lost in setting up an effective watchdog with real teeth.

“Food producers here and in the developing world want to concentrate on the efficient production of healthy food not perpetually fight for their survival.”

It is three years since the Competition Commission warned that too much power in the hands of big retailers would be bad for suppliers and consumers.

New rules to enforce fair dealing between supermarkets and suppliers came into force in February 2010.

The Grocery Market Action Group subsequently campaigned for a watchdog to scrutinise supermarket practices in accordance with the code.

GMAG members include the NFU, National Farmers Union of Scotland, the British Independent Fruit Growers Association and other bodies.

It has fought for five years to secure crossbench support for the creation of a new watchdog to ensure there is fair dealing in the grocery supply chain.


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