To me, the Coalition partners’ promises to introduce a Groceries Code Adjudicator aren’t really fulfilled if the requisite legislation is not introduced to Parliament until mid 2012. At least three years more of what I’m tempted to call economic cleansing in the agricultural sector. Just dashed off this letter, thanks tothe Fair Deal Food campaign. More letters would doubtless be useful!

Karen

Groceries Code Adjudicator legislation

James Paice

Minister of State (Agriculture & Food)

Defra
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

cc (email) Caroline Spelman, Secretary of State for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Dear James Paice,

We are writing to you to request that you use your influence to ensure that the Government acts very swiftly now on its promise to introduce an Adjudicator to monitor the Grocery Suppliers Code of Practice (GSCOP), following election promises and the formal recommendation from the Competition Commission some years ago.

As you must be aware, farming is in serious crisis with farmers, particularly of milk and of pig products, going out of business at unprecedented rates, with many experiencing practices from their supermarket customers such as retrospective adjustments to terms and conditions, holding suppliers liable for losses due to shrinkage, and other forms of overbearing and even sometimes bullying conduct.

The need for the Adjudicator is absolutely immediate and the proposed timetable for a bill on this – being introduced mid 2012 and not coming into force until 2014 – is simply inadequate. Many more of our farming businesses and their associated expertise will have been lost by then.

The Government’s commitment to strengthening this country’s economy cannot exclude the importance of protecting the economic diversity of our agriculture which also serves our countryside, rural communities, environment and food security.

Yours sincerely

Karen Leach
Coordinator
Localise West Midlands