Kevin Brennan has today announced that he has accepted the
Competition Commission’s recommendation for a body to enforce the
Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP).
The Code of Practice comes into force on 4 February 2010 and this
will be quickly followed by a consultation, beginning in February,
on how best to enforce the GSCOP, including who that body might be
and the powers it could have.
Consumer minister Kevin Brennan said:
“The revised Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) is a great
improvement on the current regime. However, the power that large
grocery retailers remain able to wield over their suppliers can
still create pressures on small producers, especially in these
difficult economic times, which ultimately may impact on consumers.
“Free and fair competition is the key to a healthy market and it
is right that there should be an enforcement body to make sure
that consumers are getting the best value for money.
“We do not anticipate a significant impact on consumer prices or
workers resulting from the creation of an enforcement body. It is
not a question of whether a body is needed, but exactly how that
body will operate. The next step is to consult formally on its
nature and role, to ensure that all interested parties can make
their views heard and that informed decisions are made.”
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:
“The new ombudsman will help strike the right balance between
farmers and food producers getting a fair deal, and supermarkets
enabling consumers to get the high quality British food that they
want, at an affordable price.”
Notes to Editors
1. The Competition Commission (CC) found that that large grocery
retailers were passing on excessive risks and unexpected costs to
their suppliers. The CC failed to obtain voluntary undertakings
from retailers to set up a GSCOP Ombudsman. On 4 August 2009 the
CC recommended that BIS take steps to set up, as soon as
practicable, an ombudsman that can levy penalties on large grocery
retailers for GSCOP non compliance. The letter is available at
2. On 12 January the Government also said that, following its
public consultation, it had decided to revoke the Land Agreement
Exclusion Order. The order currently allows certain land
agreements to restrict grocery retailing, and the CC found that,
in certain local areas, this could restrict competition.
3. The CC recommended in their 2008 report on UK groceries that
the Government consider amending or revoking the Land Agreements
Exclusion Order so that it no longer applied to certain agreements
which restrict grocery retailing. This was on the grounds that the
CC had found that, in highly concentrated markets, such agreements
had an adverse effect on competition in the groceries sector.
4. BIS undertook a public consultation between at the end of last
year on the future of the Order. The consultation document is
available on the BIS website at
Please contact the Department for Business press office on 0207
215 3496 for more information.
Department for Business, Innovation & Skills
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) is
building a dynamic and competitive UK economy by: creating the
conditions for business success; promoting innovation, enterprise
and science; and giving everyone the skills and opportunities to
succeed. To achieve this it will foster world-class universities
and promote an open global economy. BIS - Investing in our future.
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