Progress Made Towards Fairer Treatment of Dairy Farmers

key_dairyfarming.JPGJane Dodds, Parliamentary Candidate for Montgomeryshire, has welcomed the introduction of measures to grant the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) powers to fine UK supermarkets.

The Adjudicator will be able to impose penalties on large retailers of up to one per cent of a companies’ annual UK turnover, dependent on the seriousness of the breach of the Code.

It comes despite Tory opposition to grant the watchdog the powers it needed to do its job.

The GCA has published guidance on the principles that will be used to calculate the level of any fine.  The Code imposes on the supermarkets an overarching principle of fair dealing with their direct suppliers, including farmers.

It includes specific provisions governing terms of supply, timing of payments, marketing and promotional costs, and payments as a condition of being a supplier.The Code does not govern issues relating to pricing.

These new measures will add to existing powers to issue supermarkets with recommendations as to their future conduct, and to ‘name and shame’ those that have breached the Code.

Jane Dodds, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Montgomeryshire welcomed the announcement:

“This is great news for Montgomeryshire. The current system whereby supermarkets set milk prices is bringing British dairy farming to its knees. Our dairy farmers work hard and are being punished by supermarkets.

“I been speaking with dairy farmers about this crisis and it is clear that what the buyers are doing to them is making the industry unsustainable. This cannot be allowed to happen. I commend the work that Vince Cable has done in tackling this important issue.”

Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, who laid the measures in Parliament said:

“The Groceries Code Adjudicator is a Liberal Democrat idea and was designed to make sure suppliers, such as farmers and small businesses, are given a fair deal by supermarket giants.

“Despite Tory opposition this important final step will give the GCA the power it needs to address the issues in the supply chain, between grocery retailers and their direct suppliers.

“I am pleased today to be giving the Adjudicator the final element in a set of powers that will give this new body all the tools it needs to succeed in this challenging and important role.”

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