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Stackyard News Mar 07

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    Protect Consumers And Curb Supermarket Power, MPs Told

NFU Scotland has told MPs that the growing power of supermarkets must be better policed in order to protect consumer interests. 


Addressing a meeting attended by around 50 MPs in the House of Commons last night, NFUS Deputy Chief Executive James Withers stressed that the financial squeeze on the supply chain, driven by the major supermarkets, was jeopardising the future supply of quality, local produce.  The unsustainable pressure on farmers and direct supermarket suppliers will ultimately result in reduced consumer choice and less product innovation.

NFUS is encouraging MPs to make their voice heard during the current Competition Commission (CC) supermarket investigation.  Crucially, NFUS is asking MPs to encourage supermarket suppliers in their constituencies to contact the CC with their concerns, which can be treated in the strictest confidence.

Speaking after Wednesday night's briefing at Westminster, NFUS Deputy Chief Executive James Withers said:

“We stressed to MPs of all parties that farmers are not afraid of tough competition.  However, at a time when consumers have never been more interested in quality, local food, the supply chain is failing to reward those producing it.

“Our campaign is not about being anti-supermarket, it is about ensuring effective competition in the marketplace. Ultimately, that means protecting consumer interests.  Their interests are patently not being served by abusive supermarket trading tactics, which may deliver short-term price cuts but which are jeopardising long-term supply.

“We are convinced that a supermarket adjudicator is required to proactively police a code of practice.  MPs are clearly supportive of that.

“MPs can make their voice heard during the CC inquiry and can also play a key role in encouraging understandably fearful suppliers to speak up.  NFUS is happy to speak confidentially to any suppliers about how they can have their views heard without fear of commercial reprisals.”

  • The briefing on Wednesday 28 February was hosted by Andrew George MP and Jim Dowd MP.  Also addressing MPs was TV chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall. The CH4 River Cottage presenter stressed his concerns over the impact of increasing supermarket power on the local food industry.

link Supermarket Campaign to Tackle Consumer Confusion
link NFUS Chief Executive in EU Subsidy Talks
link Less Favoured Areas Support Scheme (LFASS) payments

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