Lewes MP and Lib Dem Shadow Secretary of State for Rural Affairs Norman Baker has today condemned a report, published by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on the Supermarket Code of Practice, which he says will leave Sussex suppliers in an armlock with little hope of escape. The report concludes that there is no need to change the wording of the current Code and rules out the appointment of a supermarket watchdog, despite strong criticisms from consumer, farming and environmental groups for failing to protect farmers and other suppliers.
Commenting on the report Norman says:
"This Report is a disgrace. The OFT should be renamed the Office of Fixed Trading. The supermarkets will be laughing all the way to the bank while farmers in Sussex scrabble around to make a living.
"The Report would barely be different even if the supermarkets had written it themselves. The OFT clearly isnít doing its job properly and its work on the Code should now be investigated by the National Audit Office.
"Only last year the OFT admitted suppliers were living in fear of the supermarkets - but that now seems to have been conveniently forgotten. Weak talk of paper trails and monitoring is no substitute for what is still really needed Ė a strengthened Code of Practice and a Food Trade inspector. The OFT have left Sussex farmers in an armlock with little prospect of escape."
Contact Norman at:
23 East Street,
Tel: (01273) 480281.
Fax: (01273) 480287.
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