Adjudicator must be able to fine retailers in breach of Groceries Code, says NFU

Adjudicator must be able to fine retailers in breach of Groceries Code, says NFU

As the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill looks set to become law, the NFU says that although it is a strong and workable piece of legislation, improvements can still be made if it is to be truly effective.

The Bill had its second reading in the House of Commons on Monday, and will now be considered in Committee over a number of days in the coming weeks, and it is expected that it will complete its passage through Parliament in early 2013.

The government is already recruiting the adjudicator in order that they can begin the important job of monitoring and enforcing the Groceries Code as soon as the Bill becomes law.

NFU president Peter Kendall said: “We are now in the home straight after over a decade of campaigning for an effective body that can ensure the big supermarkets treat their suppliers fairly. The NFU has been at the forefront of getting an adjudicator up and running, working with a wide range of organisations and individuals, and we at last have the finishing line in sight. However, while the current Bill is in many ways a strong and workable piece of legislation, there are still improvements that need making. Most importantly, MPs must amend the Bill to ensure the adjudicator will, from day one, be able to fine retailers who are found to be in serious breach of the Groceries Code.

“Producers and suppliers have for too long been subject to unfair treatment by large retailers. Despite some positive work in recent years, abuse still happens. It is vital that Parliament ensures the adjudicator is equipped with the full range of powers to do his or her job effectively.”

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