christine tacon

Government officials have less than two weeks to publish a statutory review of the role of the Groceries Code Adjudicator, Christine Tacon, or her remit will run out.

Business minister Margot James had promised to publish the results of the review in the spring but the plans were put back because of the election. Unless the government gives its backing by 25 June, the day before the forthcoming GCA conference, Tacon will have no powers.

The events in Westminster also look set to put back even further discussions on a possible widening of the role of the Adjudicator, after The Grocer revealed last year that discussions had been pushed into the long grass amid a major industry row about the idea of her taking on powers to go beyond supermarket dealings with direct suppliers.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy confirmed this week that it was still working on the statutory review, which it admitted had to be published to hit the deadline, despite holding the review way back in October.

The separate call for evidence on extending the role would take place at a later date, it said, though sources suggest this could be months or years away from fruition.

Tacon herself has spoken out against extending the role further into the supply chain, but the election saw further calls from politicians for the role to be extended.

Labour said it would expand the role to “ensure suppliers and consumers get a fair deal”.

In their manifesto, the Lib Dems called for the government to extend Tacon’s remit to include businesses “further up” the supply chain, helping to ensure that farmers receive a fair price.

The BRC and the FDF have expressed strong opposition to extending the role.