EVESHAM’S MP Nigel Huddleston has called on supermarkets to ‘operate fairly’ after a number of complaints from Vale farmers that some retailers are slow to pay.
Mr Huddleston’s comments follow the findings of a recent Groceries Code Adjudicator report which found Tesco had breached the code of practice after the country’s largest supermarket had been found delaying payments to suppliers and demanding extra fees.
And as a result of complaints from farmers across the Vale that supermarkets were slow to pay them for their produce, the Mid-Worcestershire MP has questioned the Government on what they are doing to make sure there are no further breaches of the code.
Responding to Mr Huddleston’s question, the Minister of State at the Department for Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, said: “We introduced regulations at the end of the previous Parliament to make it possible for the Groceries Code Adjudicator to levy fines against retailers that breach the code.
“The action that she took against Tesco was evidence that that is starting to work and that she is beginning to pick up on and deal with bad practice.
“The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills will shortly be leading a review of the role of and our approach to the Groceries Code Adjudicator.
“As part of that, we will be looking at ways in which we might be able to improve the code.”
Mr Huddleston said: “This is an important issue and one that has been raised many times by farmers and suppliers in my constituency.
“Of course as consumers, we want to keep household expenditure low and welcome low supermarket pricing, but a balance must also be struck which ensures a fair deal for suppliers.
“Supermarkets must operate fairly and not at the detriment of supplier’s livelihoods.”