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Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill 2012-13

Royal Assent

(This Bill is from a previous session)

Summary

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Summary

The draft Bill was announced by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, on 24 May 2011. The final Bill was confirmed in the Queen's speech of 9 May 2012 and is due to be introduced to Parliament in the 2012-13 Session.

On 16 December 2009, Albert Owen MP introduced his Grocery Market Ombudsman Ballot Bill, which had similar aims to this draft government bill. The prorogation of the 2009-10 parliamentary session halted the Bill's progress before it reached committee stage in the House of Commons.

The draft Bill aims to create a body to monitor and enforce the groceries supply code of practice, which was established on the recommendation of a 2008 Competition Commission inquiry into the supply of groceries in the UK market.

The code is designed to protect groceries suppliers from the transferral of excessive risk and unexpected costs from large retailers, and the establishment of a Groceries Code Adjudicator would help to enforce this principle.

The adjudicator would:

  • investigate violations of the groceries code by retailers
  • attempt to resolve differences between retailers and suppliers or assign the task of mediation to another individual
  • determine punishments for breaches of the code, ranging from making recommendations to imposing financial penalties

The National Farmers' Union welcomed the Bill and said suppliers would be "a step closer to a better deal".

However, the British Retail Consortium has argued that the introduction of a Groceries Code Adjudicator would achieve very little. BRC Food Director Andrew Opie said that, "The supermarket adjudicator will just add costs to retailers and push up shop prices for customers."