Andrew George MP Calls For No More Delays On Supermarket Watchdog

Posted on: 10th June 2011

Andrew George MP believes there is no excuse to delay setting up a supermarket watchdogThe MP who chairs the national Grocery Market Action Group (GMAG) has today called on the Government to ‘waste no more time’ on the setting up of a watchdog to stop large supermarket chains using bully boy tactics with their suppliers.  Andrew George has warned that every day of delay risks putting more farmers and growers out of business.

Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills published the draft Grocery Adjudicator Bill a fortnight ago. The draft Bill contained details of the Government’s proposals for the structure, remit, and operating practices of the Adjudicator.

In 2008 the Competition Commission warned that ‘the transfer of excessive risk and unexpected costs by grocery retailers to their suppliers…if unchecked will have an adverse effect on investment and innovation in the supply chain, and ultimately on customers.’ New rules governing fairer business practices between supermarkets and suppliers were introduced in February 2010. But, there’s no one in place to enforce them. Since then the GMAG has highlighted the need for an adjudicator to monitor and enforce the statutory code.

Having led the campaign for the creation of an adjudicator since 2000 Mr George today called on Ministers to make sure that the Bill progresses into law as soon as possible.

Commenting Mr George said:

“There can be no reason for any further delay. The creation of a supermarket adjudicator is already years overdue.

“Every day of delay risks more food producers going to the wall. Those not at immediate risk of going out of business are struggling as a direct result of the market distorting power wielded by the large supermarkets. Each and every day that this continues means that the supermarket watchdog is being introduced another day too late.

“The proposed Adjudicator now has cross-party support. The Government has no excuse for any further delays.

“Some of the large supermarkets still object. But, if they have nothing to hide then they have nothing to fear.

“Food producers here and in the developing world want to concentrate on being able to provide healthy food for customers, they do not want to perpetually fight the supermarkets for survival.”

Mr George added:

“It’s good that we now have support from the Conservatives and Labour. They only came on board early last year, but it is welcome nonetheless.”

Mr George chairs the Grocery Market Action Group (GMAG). The GMAG has been campaigning for nearly six years and building support on all sides of the Common to secure government action on creating an adjudicator. The GMAG has a diverse membership of key stakeholder organisations including the National Farmers Union, the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the British Independent Fruit Growers Association, Friends of the Earth, ActionAid, Traidcraft and others.