Ritchie welcomes powers for grocery code adjudicator
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has welcomed the news that the Groceries Code Adjudicator will have the power to implement a range of sanctions against retailers breaching the code.
Speaking to Newry Times, she said: “I welcome the announcement by Competition minister Jo Swinson that if the Adjudicator finds that retailers are breaching the Groceries Code and treating their suppliers unlawfully or unfairly, he or she will be able to apply a range of sanctions.
“In most cases, this would consist of recommendations or ‘naming and shaming’ but, if the breach is serious enough, the Adjudicator will have an immediate power to fine the retailer.
“I would caution that these powers must be statutory and included in the Bill if we’re to see an Adjudicator with real power to protect our producers and farmers against unfair treatment. Measures in relation to fines and penalties must be given statutory powers otherwise the Bill will not have the muscle that farming community require.
Ritchie added, “The Adjudicator must be able to fine retailers from the outset if the Code is breached. Introducing fines and penalties through secondary guidance would weaken the role of the Adjudicator.
“I look forward to the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills bringing forward new amendments and clauses to give statutory effect to the introduction of fines and penalties.”
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