A supermarket adjudicator is unnecessary, grocers have insisted.
Supermarket chiefs are disappointed with the coalition Government’s plans to press ahead with the appointment of an ombudsman - now called an adjudicator - to police the sector.
The adjudicator will be based within the Office of Fair Trading and will enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP), which was introduced in February. The Government intends to introduce a draft bill later this year.
Consumer minister Edward Davey said: “We want to make sure that large retailers can’t abuse their power by transferring excessive risks or unexpected costs onto their suppliers.
“The adjudicator will be able to step in to prevent unfair practices continuing - ensuring a fair deal for producers and safeguarding the consumer interest.”
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said it did not see the need for an adjudicator. He added: “The GSCOP is much stronger than the old code, giving suppliers the right to independent binding arbitration, for example. Our preference would be to review the effectiveness of GSCOP before deciding whether a new regulator is required.”
Other grocers supported the BRC’s comments. BRC director-general Stephen Robertson said: “The quango is unjustified and against the spirit of better regulation.”
Iceland chief executive Malcolm Walker said the adjudicator represented “a tidal wave of bureaucracy that you just can’t stop”.
Some organisations and retailers, such as the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and Waitrose, are in favour of an adjudicator.