Only a few days to go: We’re raising £25,000 to keep TheyWorkForYou running and make sure people across the UK can hold their elected representatives to account.

Donate to our crowdfunder

Clause 11 - Advice

Part of Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee at 12:15 pm on 13th December 2012.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) 12:15 pm, 13th December 2012

I beg to move amendment 23, in clause 11, page 4, line 14, after ‘to’, insert ‘the public,’.

We are now moving at breakneck speed through the Bill. The amendment is again straightforward, but it goes to the heart of what the adjudicator is meant to be doing at this point. The clause gives the adjudicator the ability to give advice on the code to suppliers and large retailers. It is right for that to be in the Bill because it allows a two-way dialogue on issues that might arise. If the adjudicator can take on the role of allowing advice to be sought from large retailers and suppliers, that might negate any need for investigations or any confusion with investigations. Under clause 10, there is an ability for suppliers to have costs awarded against them if they bring vexatious claims, some of which claims—if there are any—could be negated by simple advice from the adjudicator’s office to the large retailers and suppliers.

The Opposition also believe that insertion of “the public” into the clause could be useful. As discussed in Committee, the adjudicator and the code are in place to regulate the relationship between the large retailer and the direct primary producer; that relationship, however, has a knock-on effect for consumers. If the relationship breaks down, or there is a power play by the large retailer on the supplier, then ultimately the consumer could lose out, whether on prices, future innovation or even the products available. While the adjudicator referees the code that deals with the relationship, it is important to remember that that relationship should allow for the public to gain some information on the code.