The Government will investigate tougher rules for supermarkets' dealings with dairy farmers, thanks to Alan Reid MP.
The MP, who has been championing the hard-pressed dairy farmers of Kintyre and Bute in his Argyll and Bute constituency, told the House of Commons (on Thursday 12 February) that he welcomed the introduction of big fines for supermarkets that breach the groceries supply code of practice, but added,
"We need to extend the code to indirect suppliers such as dairy farmers, who are suffering greatly at the moment. They cannot wait another year. May we have the review much sooner, please?”, he said as he urged the Government to bring forward the review scheduled for next year.
In reply to Mr Reid, Jo Swinson MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills said that MPs across the House were all concerned about the dairy industry.
"The groceries code adjudicator is already proving to be a great success in her work with supermarket companies, by encouraging them to change their behaviour," Ms Swinson said, "We have ensured that she has, and will have, the power to fine as well as to launch investigations - the first, of course, was launched recently. The question whether the remit should be extended needs to be looked at, and I commit the Government to doing that."
Mr Reid welcomed the news. He said afterwards, "The situation for dairy farmers right now is dire; the feedback I am getting from Kintyre and Bute is not good. The adjudicator must have at her disposal the power to impose tough fines on supermarkets and to dig deep and investigate where needed. I’m pleased that Jo Swinson has committed the Government to looking at extending the adjudicator’s remit. I hope that after looking at this, they will extend her remit to include indirect suppliers, such as dairy farmers.”