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27 February 2013 16:30:14 |News,Supermarkets

Supermarket adjudicator bill nears completion


MPs have today voted to approve the report stage of the bill to create a Groceries Code Adjudicator.
"This is the culmination of fourteen years of lobbying on this vital issue" said NFU President Peter Kendall.
The Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon will oversee the relationship between Britain's supermarkets and their suppliers, including farmers.
The GCA will help to enforce and monitor the Groceries Supply Code of Practice. Which sets minimum standards in the way big retailers treat their suppliers.
The adjudicator will investigate alleged breaches of the code, this applies to all retailers with a turnover of more than £1bn in groceries in the UK.
"The adjudicator will bring to light supply chain imbalances between large retailers and direct suppliers. It is critical to see better functioning supply chains which focus on longer term relationships and reward all players fairly, to encourage innovation and sustainability of supply."
The need for a Grocery Code Adjudicator, which has cross party support, was made clear in two reports by the Competition Commission published in 2000 and 2008.
"This breakthrough has only come through dedicated campaigning, with members of the public across the country pushing MPs for action to curb supermarkets’ excessive power" said Murray Worthy, campaigner for the charity War on Want.
Farming unions across the UK have consistently called for a watchdog to ensure a level playing field in the grocery supply chain, for the adjudicator to have the power to take credible evidence from reputable sources, and to be able to fine retailers for breaking the code.
"This is an important step forward and will reassure farmers that progress continues to be made to introduce an adjudicator that will have the necessary ‘teeth’ to curb the abuses of power that can undermine farmers and the supply chain, with implications for consumers" said NFU President Ed Bailey.
NFU head of food and farming Phil Hudson said: "This is an important step forward and will reassure farmers that progress continues to be made to introduce an adjudicator that will have the necessary 'teeth' to curb the abuses of power that can undermine farmers and the supply chain, with implications for consumers."
"Now Ms Tacon has been appointed, we look forward to her taking up post and quickly getting to grips with the issues affecting our members. Once she has formally taken up her role we will look to meet her to discuss our concerns over the way in which the supply chain operates."
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