Given the structural issues facing the British economy, it is surprising that the government sees fit to prioritise a Grocery Adjudicator Bill in the Queen’s Speech.

Let us be clear. There is no room for inappropriate behaviour by retailers towards their suppliers - and while a global fmcg group needs little protection from supermarkets, a small fresh produce supplier may. We also await the definition of ‘supplier abuse’, for want of a better term. The mandarins will have a lot of ‘fun’ with that one. Indeed, there are the makings of a farce similar to the ‘what is an ambient pasty?’ debate.

That there has been inappropriate action in such a large and extensive industry is undoubtedly so and there is enough anecdotal evidence to have grounds for concern. However, whether there is so much such misbehaviour to cast a shadow over the whole industry and justify an Adjudicator at some potential monetary cost may be a different question.

Assuming the Office is created, it is important the cost is transparent. If the said Adjudicator is found to be busy putting rights to wrongs, then it should prove worthwhile.

However, we also believe there must be some controls on this Office for the sake of the beleaguered taxpayer at a time of structurally overbearing national debt and industry over-regulation, not least because public agencies have a great capability to become self-perpetuating. Accordingly, we also believe that if the Adjudicator is found to be inactive over, say, three years then it should be wound up.

To date, attempts to establish real abuse levels in the UK supply chain have been frustrated by fear of delisting and the like on the one hand, but also by urban myths purported often by folk who do not actually directly supply supermarkets on the other.

Therefore, determining the true nature of abuse will be helpful in its own right, while a body that tempers over-enthusiasm by retailers would be helpful. We sense that any Adjudicator may have a lot of time on its hands, which could be an interesting development for pro-bureaucrats to justify.

Meanwhile the economy has re-entered recession.