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GCA role could be extended

30 March 2016

The Groceries Code Adjudicator could be granted new powers to protect farmers in addition to suppliers.

The government is expected to review the powers of the GCA in coming months. The supermarket ombudsman has been criticised as being toothless in tackling abuses of power by retailers. 

The GCA published a report recently accusing Tesco of delaying payments to suppliers in breach of the Groceries Code. However, it was unable to fine the company because the breaches occurred before the watchdog was granted the power to levy a one per cent penalty of UK revenue.

Currently, the GCA is only able to regulate the activity of the 10 biggest supermarkets and their direct suppliers. 

The Independent newspaper reported that the Business Secretary Sajid Javid was “open” to extending the remit to cover farmers who can also be penalised by supermarket pricing.

The source added: “He has had a meeting with a few colleagues and said he will go with the evidence either way.” 

A Department for Business spokeswoman said: “A review into the Grocery Code Adjudicator is due shortly and we will look at how this can help the farming industry.” 

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