FUW WELCOMES QUEEN'S SPEECH SUPERMARKET OMBUDSMAN PROMISE
The Farmers' Union of Wales today urged the Coalition Government "not to drag its heels" over the Queen's Speech promise to introduce a Groceries Adjudicator Bill which would spark the appointment of a supermarket ombudsman.
"In our efforts to end unfair market practices, we have been campaigning on this issue for over 10 years so we welcome the government's intention to introduce a Bill to establish a Groceries Code Adjudicator to enforce the Groceries Code," said FUW president Emyr Jones.
Last year the union made representations to Defra Secretary of State Caroline Spelman complaining it was almost five years since the Office of Fair Trading authorised an initial investigation by the Competition Commission which published its final report in 2008.
The setting up of a Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) in February last year marked the first of the key remedies outlined in the report and the Government later announced it would proceed with the establishment of an Ombudsman to oversee the GSCOP.
"But two years after the first consultation on the introduction of an Ombudsman the industry still remains void of such a body," said Mr Jones.
"For good reason, Welsh farmers, particularly dairy producers, believe that without an Ombudsman the GSCOP remains hollow and ineffectual.
"Over the last decade the FUW has consistently argued that the UK Government should take the necessary action to redress the imbalance in the powers held by primary producers, processors and retailers.
"We urge the Government not to drag its heels over the establishment of a groceries adjudicator with sufficient powers to address the concerns raised by the Competition Commission.
"In 2010, we welcomed Ynys Môn MP Albert Owen's Grocery Market Ombudsman Bill which received cross party support and presented an ideal opportunity to take forward the establishment of a supermarket ombudsman.
"So there is no reason why there should be any further delays in introducing the Bill promised in today's Queen's Speech," added Mr Jones.