The draft bill to usher in the Groceries Code Adjudicator was not published before Parliament’s Easter recess.

Consumer minister Edward Davey said before the break the bill would be appear “soon after Easter, to allow time for pre-legislative scrutiny in the current session” and insisted a congested parliamentary timetable was the only reason for the delay. He claimed the legislation was “ready to go”.

While the government aims to introduce a final Bill ahead of Easter 2012, Davey said it could be brought forward “if parliamentary time allows”.

Davey was speaking during a debate in the House of Commons when suppliers told of their “sheer desperation” just to break even. One complained of the “severe stress on our health”.

Tory MP Gavin Williamson said there must be “no further slippage” in bringing in the Adjudicator, saying the regulator must have “teeth”, including powers to impose fines as well as naming and shaming. He said it was “vital” that complainants were guaranteed anonymity.

When questioned on the necessity for a draft Bill, Davey replied that it had been a good tactic to produce a draft as it ensured the bill would appear in the Queen’s Speech, thereby raising its profile in the battle for legislative space.

Davey responded by saying it was a priority of the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills to “take this important matter forward”.

Read more
Daily Bread: GSCOP, bad cop (17 February 2011)
Draft bill signals race to bring in Adjudicator for 2012 (17 February 2011)