Supermarket watchdog to be handed new powers to levy fines

Paul Snell is managing editor at Supply Management
4 February 2015

The UK government has submitted new rules to Parliament to allow the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) to fine supermarkets for poor treatment of suppliers.

The supermarket watchdog will be able to impose penalties of up to 1 per cent of a supermarket's annual UK turnover, depending on the severity of the breach of the code, if the measures pass through Parliament. The fines were put out for consultation in August 2013.

The GCA, Christine Tacon, was appointed in 2013 to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which governs the UK’s 10 biggest supermarkets. The unfair practices that can be investigated include supply terms and conditions, payment terms and marketing costs.

“This important final step will give the Groceries Code Adjudicator the power it needs to address the most serious disputes between the large supermarkets and their direct suppliers,” said business secretary Vince Cable.

“I created the Groceries Code Adjudicator to ensure a fair deal for those who supply goods to supermarkets such as farmers and small businesses. I am pleased to be giving the Adjudicator the final element in a set of powers that will give this new body all the tools it needs to succeed in this challenging and important role.”

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