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Grocery Code Adjudicator will get power to fine supermarkets - Roger Williams MP

December 4, 2012 4:18 PM

The new Grocery Code Adjudicator will be able to fine large supermarkets who deal with suppliers unfairly, Liberal Democrat Competition Minister, Jo Swinson has announced.

Roger Williams, MP for Brecon and Radnorshire has long campaigned for a fair deal for farmers and suppliers. The Coalition Government has now listened to concerns from stakeholders and given the Adjudicator more teeth to protect farmers and other small suppliers.

Commenting, Roger Williams, said:

"Too often, the farmer or small supplier is squashed under the might of the major supermarkets that dominate our daily shopping. That is why I and the Liberal Democrats have long campaigned for a strong, independent regulator that has real teeth to stand up for hard-working suppliers.

"To create growth and jobs, Liberal Democrats in the Coalition Government are making sure that small business owners and farmers must have the opportunity to can get on in life, without being squeezed by all-powerful supermarkets.

"Liberal Democrats are working hard to create a stronger economy and that means we need to ensure everyone is treated fairly. That is why the beefed-up powers for the Grocery Code Adjudicator are an important step forward."

Commenting further, Jo Swinson said:

"The food industry plays an important role in economic growth, and the Groceries Code Adjudicator will help to ensure that the market is operating in a fair and healthy way.

"Large supermarkets form a big chunk of this industry, and generally provide consumers with low prices and variety whilst providing business for farmers and suppliers.

"But where supermarkets are breaking the rules with suppliers and treating them unfairly, the Adjudicator will make sure that they are held to account.

"We have heard the views of the stakeholders who were keen to give the Adjudicator a power to fine, and recognise that this change would give the Adjudicator more teeth to enforce the Groceries Code.

"We expect fines to be used as a last resort, but the fact that the Adjudicator has the power to impose them will send a strong message to retailers that compliance with the Code is not optional. I am confident that these changes will mean that the Adjudicator is able to ensure fair play in the food supply chain and keep the industry growing."