Legislation creating the long-awaited Grocery Code Adjudicator will be introduced this Parliament.
Plans to usher in the supermarket watchdog were confirmed in today’s Queen’s Speech.
“It will address the market dominance of the large retailers and ensure suppliers are treated fairly and lawfully,” the Department for Business, Skills & Innovation said in a statement.
“The GCA would address these competition issues by arbitrating disputes between retailers and suppliers, investigating anonymous complaints and taking sanctions against retailers who break the rules.”
The Food & Drink Federation welcomed the move. Communications director Terry Jones said the adjudicator would “address the abuses of market power identified by the Competition Commission, giving small and medium-sized manufacturers the confidence to innovate and invest”.
He added: “The FDF will work to establish trade associations as providers of confidential information on behalf of their members. Small suppliers need to be assured that they will not face retaliation from retailers for speaking out about unfair practices.”
But the British Retail Consortium warned of the hidden costs to business.
“The truth is no-one knows what the cost might be,” said the BRC’s Andrew Opie. “Retailers are being asked to write a blank cheque.”