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Grocery Code Adjudicator a boost for a stronger and fairer rural economy

January 21, 2013 1:30 PM

Farmers and suppliers in South Wales West will now have someone fighting their corner against the big supermarkets, with the appointment of a new independent Groceries Code Adjudicatorby UK Liberal Democrat Consumer and Competition Minister, Jo Swinson.

As Adjudicator, Christine Tacon will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the ten largest supermarkets and farmers and suppliers.

This will ensure a fairer deal for farmers and suppliers in South Wales West who can complain to the Adjudicator if they are unfairly treated by supermarkets. If a breach of the code is found, the Adjudicator will be able to make recommendations against a supermarket or impose fines.

Welcoming the appointment, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member for South Wales West, Peter Black said:

"Farmers and suppliers in our region are in an unfair fight with the big supermarkets. Many receive unfair prices and are struggling to stay in business. This damages local communities and the regional economy.

"Local consumers need farmers and suppliers in South Wales West, to get a fair deal. That's why I and other Welsh Liberal Democrats have campaigned to establish a Grocery Code of Practice and an Adjudicator to enforce it.

"To build a stronger economy, we need to make it fairer for everyone. That's why I am so pleased with today's announcement because it means that our campaign is turning into a reality."

Notes to editors:

  1. The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which will formally create the office of the Adjudicator, is currently before Parliament. Christine Tacon will act as Adjudicator-Designate until the office of the Adjudicator is established by law, when she will formally take up the four year appointment.
  1. In her new role, Ms Tacon will be responsible for enforcing the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which regulates interactions between the ten largest supermarkets with an annual turnover of £1bn and their direct suppliers.
  1. In addition, the Adjudicator will have the power to launch investigations into suspected breaches of the Code, including those arising from confidential complaints from any source. If she finds evidence of a breach, the Adjudicator will be able to make recommendations against a supermarket, require them to publish details of their breach, or, in the most extreme cases, to impose fines. She will also have the power to arbitrate disputes between large supermarkets and their direct suppliers.