MP writes to six retailers over supplier payment concerns

Business Committee writes to six leading supermarkets on payment practices
Business Committee writes to six leading supermarkets on payment practices

An influential committee has written to six retailers asking why they are not signatories to a voluntary code which sets standards on paying suppliers.

Only half of the twelve regulated grocery retailers in the UK are listed as signatories to the Prompt Payment Code (PPC).

These include Asda, Co-op, M&S, Sainsburys, Tesco and Waitrose (as John Lewis).

The Code sets standards for payment practices and best practice and is administered by the Chartered Institute of Credit Management on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

It covers prompt payment to suppliers, as well as wider payment procedures.

But Rachel Reeves MP, Chair of the BEIS Committee, has now written to Morrisons, Aldi, Iceland, Lidl, Ocado and B&M asking why they're not signed up members.

The correspondence follows a recent evidence hearing with Christine Tacon, the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA).

It picked up on a range of issues relating to the remit of the GCA, including around the treatment of suppliers and concerns around late payments and poor payment practices.

A BEIS Committee report released in 2018 which recommended that “the government moves as soon as possible to require all medium and large companies to sign the Prompt Payment Code and quickly adopts a statutory limit of paying within 30 days”.

And in the 2017-18 Annual Report, the GCA noted that: “Delay in payments remained the number one concern highlighted by suppliers in the 2017 survey and continued to be an issue widely reported directly to the GCA by suppliers.”

In related news, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) last month blocked the proposed Sainsbury's-Asda merger after finding consumers would be worse off if it went ahead.