Pressure is mounting on the government to announce whether it will introduce a groceries ombudsman.

This week, MP Albert Owen introduced a Private Member's Bill calling for the government to appoint the watchdog.

"I am delighted to bring the Grocery Market Ombudsman Bill to parliament as it will protect both small suppliers and consumers against unscrupulous behaviour by the larger retailers," he said. "An ombudsman is urgently required as the recession has increased pressure on suppliers, making them particularly vulnerable to anti-competitive practices."

The Bill, which will have its Second Reading in March, follows fears that the government is dragging its heels.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills was given 90 days to respond to the Competition Commission recommendation in August, but as yet there has been no announcement. The Grocer revealed last month that any decision was likely to be delayed until early next year.

The Association of Convenience Stores welcomed the Bill, adding that it hoped the move would "spark a decision" from the government.

Friends of the Earth said parliament "must stand up for a fairer food chain".