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NFU heralds landmark Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill

News that third parties will be able to take complaints from suppliers to the newly created Groceries Code Adjudicator will bring huge relief to the farmers and growers supplying into the large retailers, said the NFU today.

After more than a decade of campaigning, today’s announcement means that trade associations, such as the NFU, should be able to protect farmers and growers who, for too long, have been subjected to unfair practices by the major supermarkets.

NFU President Peter Kendall said that Government had chosen to take a strong stance against an intense lobbying campaign by retailers and that the landmark bill, published today, was a just reward for the farmers and growers who had bravely stepped forward amid a climate of fear to reveal the unfair practice that were confirmed during the two major investigations carried out by the Competition Commission.

“After years of campaigning, this announcement will be welcomed by suppliers and producers who, for too long, have been subjected to unfair practices by the major supermarkets,” said Mr Kendall. “While some retailers have taken steps to build stronger relationships with suppliers all too often the pursuit of short-term financial performance leads them to abuse their market power – all too often at the expense of farmers and growers at the end of the line.

“The new adjudicator also has the power to fine retailers without the need for new primary legislation being introduced if other remedies prove insufficient and this has to be good news for the supply chain as a whole.

“Our main concern now is that the Bill becomes law at the earliest opportunity and receives proper but swift scrutiny as it passes through Parliament. The Grocery Supply Code of Practice has been in force for over two years – essentially a rulebook without a referee. Now the opportunity has finally come to establish a framework that will encourage investment in the supply chain, improving returns for producers and ultimately benefiting consumers.”

The Bill will begin its passage through Parliament in the coming weeks and the NFU will be examining the fine text of the Bill to ensure the adjudicator’s powers are fit for purpose.

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