• Our MP urged to back supermarket watchdog

    16th April 2012 | News | Claire
  • I would like to ask you, as my MP, to help ensure that a Bill introducing a supermarket watchdog (or ‘Groceries Code Adjudicator’, GCA) is included in the next Queen’s Speech.

    This is a matter of urgency. It is four years since the Competition Commission concluded that supermarkets transfer ‘excessive risks and unexpected costs’ to their suppliers and that this behaviour also harms consumers.

    In that time, many UK and overseas farmers have continued to face uneconomic prices and unfair terms for their produce. Agricultural employees have continued to work long hours for poverty wages in unsafe conditions. And many farmers have been prevented from investing in sustainable farming practices.

    The introduction of a GCA has cross party support and is backed by a broad coalition of civil society, including Friends of the Earth, War on Want, ActionAid, National Farmers Union, Traidcraft, the Food Ethics Council and the Fairtrade Foundation. A recent poll found that 84% of consumers support the introduction of a watchdog.

    A draft GCA Bill already exists and has been examined by two select committees.

    I would be grateful if you could write to the Minister responsible, The Rt Hon Vince Cable MP, asking him to ensure that:

    – A Bill introducing a Groceries Code Adjudicator is included in the next Queen’s Speech, or parliamentary time found for it before then.
    – The Adjudicator has the power to fine supermarkets.
    – The Adjudicator can launch investigations based on credible evidence from third parties (e.g. trade associations, unions and charities).

    I would also greatly appreciate it if you would consider other actions in Parliament, such as tabling questions to Ministers and raising this issue in Business Questions.

    In recent years East Devon has seen a huge increase in supermarkets and now it seems that the biggest are keen to argue that others have got permission so they should too, to help competition.  This is complete nonsense and support for this view could see East Devon towns uniqueness slowly destroyed.

    I hope you are well and that you will speak against any policy that favours supermarkets even more than they currently are.

    kind regards
    Claire Wright

    The link to the letter and sending mechanism is below: