MPs should use downtime to appoint groceries supply adjudicator

10 February 2012

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11 February 2012 | Adam Leach

The National Farmers Union (NFU) has called on the UK parliament to bring forward a bill to create a body to oversee potential breaches of the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP).

The code, which is intended to stop suppliers and farmers from being treated unfairly by supermarkets, came into force in February 2010. However, the government has yet to establish a body charged with ensuring it is enforced.

Pointing to the fact that the government is currently struggling to pass legislation, such as the Health and Social Care and Welfare Reform bills, the union, which acts on behalf of UK farmers, suggested the bill to introduce the adjudicator be submitted to parliament.

Nick Von Westenholz, head of government affairs at the National Farmers Union, said: “This would mean an adjudicator could be up and running by the end of the year and at last we may have a referee to go along with the rulebook come the third anniversary of the GSCOP in 2013.”

Since it was first proposed, the code has faced criticism from retailers. From the start The British Retail Consortium has argued it would have no significant impact and would just increase costs for consumers.

It also prompted a spat between the Forum of Private Business and Iceland CEO Malcom Walker in 2010. The FPB said Walker was using “bullying” tactics when he said that Iceland would do the bare minimum to comply with the code. In response, Walker told The Daily Telegraph: "The FPB are pillocks.” 


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