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MP pleased at OFT proposals for grocery market - but asks 'what about the farmers'?

March 14, 2006 12:00 AM

Local MP Tim Farron has expressed his delight at the OFT proposal to ask the Competition Commission to conduct an investigation of the UK grocery market. Tim has given his full support to such a decision. If the proposal goes ahead, the commission will examine the effect of large supermarkets on local grocery suppliers. In particular, the Competition Commission will look at:

The planning system and supermarket land banks

The buying power of large supermarkets and its impact on the supply of groceries for independent traders

Supermarkets pricing behaviour

The impact of supermarkets on local shops

As a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Small Shops, Tim is concerned about large supermarkets taking trade away from local independent shops through offering low prices on groceries that independent local shops cannot match. However, Tim will also ask that the sphere of the review by the Competition Commission be widened. Tim is concerned that the buying power of supermarkets not only affects grocery suppliers through driving down their profit margins, but also farmers.

Tim commented: "I am pleased that this proposal has been put forward and give it my full support. However, I will also ask that the Competition Commission look at the effect of supermarket buying power on farmers - it is not only independent grocery suppliers who are affected by large supermarkets. Whilst I recognise the importance of large supermarkets in providing employment and affordable food - this should not be at the expense of local traders, shop owners, suppliers and farmers".