Government Set To Announce Plans For Supermarket Watchdog
Mr George, who chairs GMAG (Grocery Market Action Group), understands that Minsters in the Department for Business, Innovation, and Skills intend to publish the draft Grocery Adjudicator Bill tomorrow.
The draft Bill will detail the proposed structure, remit and operating practices of the Adjudicator. In April 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 consumers”. New rules to enforce fair dealing between supermarkets and suppliers came into force in February 2010, with GMAG subsequently campaigning for the creation of a watchdog to scrutinise supermarkets’ practices in accordance with the Code.
GMAG, which includes in its membership the National Farmers Union, the National Farmers Union of Scotland, the British Independent Fruit Growers Association, Friends of the Earth, ActionAid, Traidcraft and other bodies, has been fighting for five years to successfully secure crossbench support for the creation of a new watchdog to ensure there is fair dealing in the grocery supply chain.
Mr George said:
“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.
This proposal has 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.”