Fair Trade campaigners say Supermarket Watchdog has teeth!

Posted on: 8th February 2013

The Group who’ve led the campaign for a supermarket watchdog for the past decade finally came face to face with her this week. The Grocery Market Action Group met the newly appointed Grocery Adjudicator – Christine Tacon – in the Government’s Business Department and declared that she has teeth and will not be afraid to use them!

The Group, which includes representatives from the NFU and NFU Scotland, CLA, Friends of the Earth, TRAIDCRAFT, British Independent Fruit-growers’ Association, Action Aid, CPRE, Church of England and others, urged Ms Tacon to “get to work as soon as possible”.

West Cornwall and Scillies MP, Andrew George (Lib Dem) has chaired the Grocery Market Action Group (GMAG) since its creation in 2006. But, like most of its members, Mr George had been pressing for action to protect supermarket suppliers from unfair dealing for many years before.

Mr George said: “We were all pleased to see that she’s quickly getting a measure of the significance of the task before her. And we’re reassured by her even-handed approach to the job. We emphasised to her that suppliers will want reassurance that their confidentiality will be protected. And retailers should be reassured too; if they have nothing to hide they have nothing to fear.

“Equally she wants to manage expectations. Clearly the Adjudicator has no role in price-setting. Nor can she deal with market shocks, like when horse meat is found in a small proportion of beef products. She is there to stamp out unfair trading practices, like those identified by the Competition Commission, where some supermarket buyers were found to have added extra costs and unexpected risks to supplier contracts after they’d already shaken hands on a deal.”