MP in ombudsman rallying cry

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Local MP Andrew George, who has led the national call for a regulator of large supermarkets, is calling on local farmers, growers, suppliers, and shoppers to make their voices heard during a Government consultation.

Earlier this month, Ministers at the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform announced that Government would look to create a Supermarket Ombudsman to protect the interests of suppliers and consumers and enforce the new Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), which came into force on February 4.

Before creating the Ombudsman, however, the Government announced that there would be an open consultation period to establish its nature and structure.

George said: “After ten years of campaigning and countless inquiries and reports, all of which concluded that a Supermarket Ombudsman was necessary to protect the interests of suppliers and shoppers alike, I welcomed the Government’s announcement earlier this year.

“The Competition Commission and members of the Grocery Market Action Group campaign have been quite clear about the need for a proactive, independent Ombudsman that would have the power to enforce the new GSCOP and could guarantee mistreated suppliers anonymity.

“There is now a danger, however, that the new consultation will allow the big supermarkets to stall for time whilst trying to weaken powers and principles of the Ombudsman.

“That is why it is essential that local people – especially farmers, growers, and suppliers – make sure their voices are heard by using the consultation as an opportunity to call for a properly independent, appropriately empowered Ombudsman to protect the interests of suppliers and shoppers alike.”

The deadline for submissions to the consultation is April 30. Further information can be found here.