23 Sep 2008

Join push for Supermarket watchdog with teeth

As West Glos Greens continue their fight this month against a town-destroying Tesco in Cinderford - see their letter here - we are still waiting to hear news of the Competition Commission's recommendations for a new supermarket watchdog and new supermarket code of practice. Where is it? Apols but this is another appeal to folk to take action....

Photo: Till receipt from local artist Petalspice

At the end of April 2008 the Competition Commission (CC) completed its 2 year investigation into the grocery market - the local Green party made several submissions to the Commission. The Commission found the supermarkets guilty of transferring excessive cost and risks onto their suppliers and recommended the establishment of an independent supermarket watchdog and new Grocery Supply Code of Practice.

The Green party, the Tescopoly alliance, along with other trade associations and farming unions, had been pushing for the establishment of a watchdog and a stronger Code for a number of years. While many were delighted by the recommendations I personally feel they go nowhere near far enough but they are a start - of course it is now vital that the Commission imposes a strong code of practice - and that it is tough enough to stop the unfair treatment of suppliers for good.

Some will remember that supermarkets were found guilty of unfair practices in 2000 - then they used their influence to create a weak code - they must not be allowed to do the same again.
Government must make the new watchdog independent - and give it real teeth. It needs the power to carry out its own investigations and take firm action if and when the supermarkets breach the code.

However despite the CC's recommendations, the indications from Government have not been very encouraging so it is vital we continue to put pressure on MPs and Government to take action.

Tescopoly have produced new campaign postcards to target MPs to put pressure on Government to establish a supermarket watchdog. Postcards are free but contributions towards postage costs are always welcome. Please email info@tescopoly.org

I know many folk have already done this - indeed I am getting sick of repeating what is plainly obvious to all - but please one more time tell the Government it must support town centres and local shops - and implement the Competition Commission's recommendations.

In July 2008 the Government revealed new plans for town centre planning policy. Unchallenged they could remove one of the key measures protecting local shops. It has launched a consultation that runs until the 3rd October. You can submit comments here.

Alternatively Tescopoly have a new on-line petition to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Hazel Blears MP - ask her to introduce a stronger policy for town centres that retains the need test and includes a presumption against out of town development and a tougher test for diversity to ensure that policy delivers a real choice of where to shop. Follow this link to send the email petition now:

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