The National Federation of Retail Newsagents suspended its involvement in the newstrade's Joint Industry Group this week, while it awaits the OFT's decision on whether to refer the sector to the Competition Commission.

JIG, which was formed in 1998 to monitor issues affecting newstrade, was failing independent newsagents, the NFRN said, describing its meetings as "little more than talking shops".

"JIG is failing to deliver on self-regulation for the independent newsagent sector," said Stefan Wojciechowski, head of news and magazines at the NFRN. "We do not want an industry merely content with the status quo, while looking to strengthen its monopoly control even if it's occasionally at the cost of sales. We want leaders with vision who are prepared to trial supply chain improvements."

However, fellow member the Association of News Retailing said that, despite concerns, it was staying put. "As the pace of change in the industry has quickened, it has become even clearer that JIG is not an effective forum for tackling these issues," said ANR MD John Lennon. "While our membership of JIG is under constant review, we are not planning to leave at this time."

Independent View, p48