Government gives green light to supermarket ombudsman

The Government has finally given the go-ahead for a supermarket ombudsman after months of keeping the industry in suspense.

The creation of an enforcement body for the new Grocery Suppliers Code of Practice is in line with recommendations from the Competition Commission which completed its investigation into the Grocery Market in 2008.

Consumer minister Kevin Brennan has announced that he has accepted the Competition Commission's recommendation for the body to enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP).

The Code of Practice comes into force next month and will be followed by a consultation on how best to enforce the GSCOP, including which body that might be and the powers it could have.

Consumer minister Kevin Brennan said: "Free and fair competition is the key to a healthy market and it is right that there should be an enforcement body to make sure that consumers are getting the best value for money."

Environment Secretary Hilary Benn added: "The new ombudsman will help strike the right balance between farmers and food producers getting a fair deal and supermarkets enabling consumers to get the high-quality British food that they want at an affordable price."

The NFU has today congratulated Department for Businesss, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Defra ministers, describing the Government's announcement that it accepts the need for a body to enforce the Grocery GSCOP as "a victory for common sense and the consumer."

NFU President Peter Kendall said the decision was the result of hard work and lobbying by the NFU over the past 10 years including in-depth responses to both Competition Commission investigations.

"We've worked incredibly hard to make this a reality," he said.

For more on this story see next week's Grower.


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