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Farron: watchdog needs teeth to give farmers fair deal

June 27, 2017 5:06 PM

The watchdog needs teeth to ensure farmers get a fair deal, according to South Lakes MP Tim Farron, as figures released this week by the government show that more than half of suppliers have faced problems in the last year.

The survey by YouGov reveals that 56% of suppliers that had faced code-related problems in the last year. Delay in payments continues to be the issue of highest concern to suppliers.

Tim helped to set up the watchdog - the Groceries Code Adjudicator - under the coalition government, but says it must now be given teeth in order to protect farmers. He is calling for its remit to be expanded so that it covers more of the supply chain, for the right of third parties to seek inquiries to be strengthened, as well as for it to be given the power to levy greater fines.

Tim said: "The watchdog must be given teeth so that our farmers can get a fair deal. The Groceries Code Adjudicator has a vital role in protecting small farmers against the might of large supermarkets, but unless it is given greater powers our farmers will continue to get a raw deal. While some improvements have been made over the last few years, it is simply not good enough that more than half of suppliers have still faced problems in the past year. The government must show that it is serious about protecting our farmers by giving the watchdog greater power."