Calls from Country Land and Business Association rebutted by British Retail Consortium
The British Retail Consortium has rebutted calls from the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) for the creation of independent ombudsman to police the Supermarkets Code of Practice.

The CLA has written to the Office of Fair Trading calling for a new Competition Commission investigation into the practices of supermarkets in dealing with their suppliers, claiming that the current OFT consultation is insufficient.

CLA president Mark Hudson said: 'If the OFT remains blinkered to suppliers' fear of complaining and being dropped by the large chains, then we must turn to the Competition Commission.'

In response to the CLA comments, BRC director-general Kevin Hawkins (pictured) said: 'We see no reason for yet another inquiry into the supermarket sector, given that the Competition Commission has already conducted two very thorough investigations into the costs, profits and practises of leading food retailers since 1999.'

'Nor do we see any case for the appointment of an ombudsman for this sector. If such an appointment were to be made, to be successful it would require the full participation of suppliers with a grievance. They would have to make their complaints in detail and their identity would become known. It is on this point that the OFT Code of Practice has come unstuck, despite the supermarkets' own observance of its provisions,' Hawkins added.