Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill

On Monday, MPs will be voting on a bill that I know is very important to growers in the Vale of Evesham Ė the ĎGroceries Code Adjudicator Billí Ė or the Supermarket Ombudsman, as itís more commonly known.
The Bill will increase protection for farmers and growers by preventing large retailers from altering their supply agreements and ensure suppliers are paid within a reasonable time. The Bill will also allow farmers and growers to raise legitimate disputes confidentially, without fear that they will be penalised for speaking up through lost business. I know this happens at present to growers in the vale, and itís just not acceptable.

The Government is determined to ensure that the UK has a food industry where farmers and food producers are getting a fair deal. The Adjudicator will certainly help to remedy the current imbalance between the growers and the buyer.

It is not just growers who will benefit from the Bill - consumers will too. Once this new law takes effect, consumers will be able to buy the high-quality food they want at an affordable price with the assurance that the products they buy will have been responsibly sourced.

Evesham has taken a lead in the Fair Trade debate and encouraged many positive steps to address the imbalance between UK retailers and producers from the developing world. But itís equally important that we address the issue of fair trade for our own farmers and producers in the UK and that is exactly what the Adjudicator will help to achieve.

The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill enjoys support from across the political spectrum and I am optimistic that it will pass its second reading so it can then go to the committee stage. When it passes, I know that it will have a positive impact for local producers across the Vale of Evesham and across the country.

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