Cumbrian MP, Tim Farron, has this afternoon spoken in a debate in the House of Commons on the Queen's Speech and the Cost of Living, to support the Government plans for a Grocery Codes Adjudicator Bill. Tim called for 'fair trade for British farmers' as they fight exploitation by powerful retailers.
Referencing the recent announcement of a cut of 2 pence per litre (ppl) in the price paid to dairy farmers for milk by four of the major processors: Dairy Crest, Robert Wiseman, Arla and Muller, which will exploit these farmers to the tune of up to £20,000 per year, Tim praised plans for a referee, who will have the power to protect farmers.
Tim used his speech to demonstrate to MPs that the Grocery Codes Adjudicator will play an integral role in rebalancing the relationship between suppliers and supermarkets, by ensuring that the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which was introduced in February 2010, is upheld.
This code obliges large supermarkets to deal fairly and lawfully with their suppliers. However, with no adjudicator, supermarkets have been able to ignore the code, enabling them to get away with changing their agreements retrospectively and to make suppliers pay for stocking their products, resolve customer complaints and even force them to use particular suppliers themselves, at the benefit of the supermarket not the producer.
Tim has been campaigning for a "Supermarket Ombudman" for many years and the introduction of this Grocery Codes Adjudicator will ensure that the supermarkets are reigned in and that British farmers receive a fair price for their produce.
Commenting after the debate Tim said: "Across the country large supermarkets have been getting away with exploitation for many years and it is completely unacceptable. The recent example of the cut in price for dairy farmers is just one example of many and is something that must be stopped.
"The Grocery Codes Adjudicator is all about ensuring fair trade for British farmers, and rebalancing the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers in order to support our agricultural industry."
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