Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Move To Stamp Out Supermarket Domination Welcomed By Huppert

MP Julian Huppert has welcomed a move which will protect Cambridge’s farmers and small suppliers from unfair treatment from the giant supermarkets.

A new powerful supermarket regulator will be able to fine the large multi-national chain stores or name and shame them if they fail to give their suppliers fair prices.

The Grocery Code Adjudicator is being established after a long campaign by the Liberal Democrats and a 2010 manifesto promise.

Julian said: “In Cambridge, we are all too familiar with how the giant supermarket chains pose a real threat our independent traders. They have the power to squash farmers or small suppliers by failing to give them a fair price for their goods.

“This new regulator will make sure that the major supermarkets play fair with the threat of fines if they fail to do so. This move is extremely welcome if we are to safeguard our small, independent traders, which are not only so vital for the future of Cambridge but for the country as a whole.”

Julian, who has been fighting to protect the city’s independent traders through his Local Services (Planning Bill), added: “I am delighted that we have been able to deliver on our promise to offer greater protection to small businesses. If we are to build a stronger economy and create jobs we have to make sure everyone is treated fairly and has a chance in a market place which is not dominated by the all-powerful supermarkets.”  

The Groceries Code Adjudicator is being established to enforce the Groceries Code after the Competition Commission identified competition issues in their 2008 market study. The Adjudicator will be able to:

  • arbitrate disputes between retailers and suppliers
  • investigate confidential complaints from direct and indirect suppliers, whether in the UK or overseas, and from third parties
  • hold to account retailers who break the rules by ‘naming and shaming’ or, if necessary, imposing a fine

If the new Adjudicator finds that retailers are breaching the Groceries Code and treating their suppliers unlawfully or unfairly, he or she will be able to apply a range of sanctions.

In most cases, this would consist of recommendations or ‘naming and shaming’ but, if the breach is serious enough, the adjudicator will have an immediate power to fine the retailer.

The Adjudicator is being set up through the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill which is currently passing through Parliament.