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Grocery Code Adjudicator a boost for a stronger and fairer rural economy – William Powell AM

January 21, 2013 2:06 PM

Farmers and suppliers in Mid and West Wales will now have someone fighting their corner against the big supermarkets, with the appointment of a new independent Groceries Code Adjudicatorby Liberal Democrat Consumer and Competition Minister, Jo Swinson.

As Adjudicator, Christine Tacon will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the ten largest supermarkets and farmers and suppliers.

This will ensure a fairer deal for farmers and suppliers in Mid and West Wales, who can complain to the Adjudicator if they are unfairly treated by supermarkets. If a breach of the code is found, the Adjudicator will be able to make recommendations against a supermarket or impose fines.

Welcoming the appointment, William Powell AM said:

"Farmers and suppliers in Mid and West Wales are in an unfair fight with the big supermarkets. Many receive unfair prices and are struggling to stay in business. This damages our local community and our local economy.

"A vibrant community needs farmers and suppliers like ours here in Mid and West Wales and they deserve a fair deal. That's why I and other Liberal Democrats have long campaigned to establish a Grocery Code of Practice and an Adjudicator to enforce it.

"To build a stronger economy, we need to make it fairer for everyone too. That's why I am so pleased with today's announcement because it means that our campaign is turning into a reality."

Commenting further, Jo Swinson said:

"For too long, the balance of power in the grocery market has been in favour of large supermarkets. This has seen many farmers and suppliers receive unfair prices, year on year, with many struggling to stay in business.

"The Grocery Code Adjudicator will ensure farmers and suppliers get a fair deal. It is an important part of the Liberal Democrat commitment to building a stronger economy in a fairer society.

"Christine Tacon has a wide range of experience in the food, retail and farming industry and so this announcement is a real milestone. Her knowledge of the sector will be of huge benefit and help rural communities who deserve a fair deal for their hard work.

Notes

  1. The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which will formally create the office of the Adjudicator, is currently before Parliament. Christine Tacon will act as Adjudicator-Designate until the office of the Adjudicator is established by law, when she will formally take up the four year appointment.
  1. In her new role, Ms Tacon will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the ten largest supermarkets with an annual turnover of £1bn and their direct suppliers.
  1. In addition, the Adjudicator will have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the Code, including those arising from confidential complaints from any source. If she finds evidence of a breach, the Adjudicator will be able to make recommendations against a supermarket, require them to publish details of their breach, or, in the most extreme cases, to impose fines. She will also have the power to arbitrate disputes between large supermarkets and their direct suppliers.