Bute MP welcomes supermarket law progress

Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid says he is “delighted” that a new law bringing in a supermarket watchdog has passed its final parliamentary hurdle.

Amendments by the House of Lords to the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill were considered by MPs on Wednesday, paving the way for Christine Tacon, a former managing director of Co-operative Farms, to take up a new post responsible for overseeing and enforcing a Groceries Code and for mediating in disputes between supermarkets and suppliers.

Following the Bill’s passage, Mr Reid said: “I am delighted that this Bill has passed its final Parliamentary hurdle and will now become law.

“This Bill creates an adjudicator with powers to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice and ensure that supermarkets treat their suppliers lawfully and fairly.

“The adjudicator will be able to receive anonymous complaints from any source and can launch an investigation if he or she has reasonable grounds to suspect that the Code has been broken.

“If the adjudicator is satisfied that the code has been broken, he or she can make recommendations to a retailer, require that retailer to publish details of the breach, and in serious cases fine the offending retailer.

“For far too long farmers and others in the supply chain have fought an unequal struggle to get fair treatment from the big supermarkets. Dairy farmers in particular have had a raw deal with a huge difference in the price of milk at the farm gate compared to the supermarket shelf.

“I hope, in a few days’ time, when we have a supermarket watchdog with teeth, unfair practices in the groceries sector will be a thing of the past.”