UK GOVT LAUNCH CONSULTATION ON MERGING FUNCTIONS WITH CMA
Gordon MP Richard Thomson has expressed concern at the announcement by the UK Government of a review into the Groceries Code Adjudicator – the third since it was established only eight years ago – which could see its functions being merged into those of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA).
First mooted in 2008, it took until 2013 for the Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA) to be set-up, and was only given the power to issue fines following a cross-party campaign by MPs.
In a Written Statement published this week, Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets Jane Hunt, who was appointed to the post only two weeks ago, stated the consultation would seek views on “whether the functions of the GCA should be transferred to another public body or be abolished”.
Commenting, Richard Thomson MP said:
“It’s probably fair to say that the Groceries Code Adjudicator had a difficult arrival, not least due to being seen as fairly toothless until a campaign to give it the power to issue fines was successful.
“However, during its time, it has been involved in what is widely regarded as a landmark investigation which rooted-out unfair retailer practices on the part of one of the country’s biggest supermarket chains.
“I can understand government Ministers looking for efficiencies, particularly at this time. However, the GCA is funded by a levy imposed on the major retailers with a turnover of over £1billion per year. It’s therefore difficult not to conclude there must be some other reason for introducing this review now, the third for a body which is not yet a decade old.
“The big concern I have is the Competition and Markets Authority may lose sight of complaints of suppliers being bullied by the big supermarkets when it has things like mergers and takeovers to scrutinise. The GCA’s single focus is the application of the Code and we need that to continue.”