Competition Commission Accepts CLA Idea of Independent Ombudsman"It's clear that supermarkets still have a stranglehold on producers and suppliers and the only way to get to the root of the problem is through an Independent Ombudsman", said Charles Trotman, CLA Rural Economy Adviser, in response to the Competition Commission's provisional report into the Groceries Market.
Charles Trotman continued: "The report agrees with the CLA that consideration should be given to the creation of an independent ombudsman that could resolve disputes between the retailers and their suppliers.
"Over three and a half years ago, the CLA put forward formal proposals for the creation of an Independent Ombudsman to Government and the Office of Fair Trading. It is gratifying to know that, at long last, the Competition Commission has accepted the widely held view that the Code of Practice, that is meant to regulate the way retailers deal with their suppliers, has failed completely to meet its objectives.
"The CLA believes that the appointment of an Independent Ombudsman, with the authority that role would carry, is vital in maintaining the confidence and trust of suppliers in the food chain. Without adequate safeguards, that trust will evaporate leading to a system that is both anti-competitive and unjust. The Competition Commission has provided us with a unique opportunity to ensure that a Code of Practice can work for the benefit of all. The role of an Independent Ombudsman must be to do just that," concluded Charles Trotman.
The creation of an Independent Ombudsman is a cornerstone of the CLA's integrated food chain policy and the organisation's economists will be responding to the Competition Commission's request for comments on its findings and possible remedies. The CLA is also encouraging its Members to do so, by the deadline of 27 November.
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Dr Charles Trotman
An economist, advises on rural economic issues, particularly food policy, rural tourism, equine issues and telecommunications policy.
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