George calls for Watchdog action


West Cornwall MP Andrew George is urging the Government to speed up its plans for a supermarket adjudicator.

George has long been a strong campaigner for a supermarket watchdog to protect farmers and other suppliers’ interests.

The proposed adjudicator would operate within the Government’s Competition Authority (and merge with the Competition Commission and Office for Fair Trading) and enforce the Grocery Supply Code of Practice which was introduced last year.

Agreements are in place, however the only action the Government intends to take before the end of this Parliamentary session, which closes in the Spring 2012, is the publication of a draft Bill.

And George does not think this is good enough.

He said: “Food prices are increasing at a rate faster than inflation in other sectors, and yet farmers are not enjoying the benefits of this in their farmgate prices. Many sectors are still being crippled by the terms and conditions attached to their contracts and ultimately by the abuse of power by the supermarkets.

“The Code is in place, the creation of an adjudicator has All Party support and the need to set it up is more urgent now than ever.

“On the one hand, the Government believes that it has the luxury of time to experiment with school policy and to subject the health service to yet another massive re-disorganisation, when something as important as this is clearly needed, wanted and could be implemented quickly and simply. This really should be a priority for our Parliamentary time.”