The failed proposed merger of ASDA and Sainsburys has set the fur flying in Westminster and the role of the Grocery Code Adjudicator (GCA) has been at the centre of the debate according to NFU Scotland President Andrew McCornick.
In his latest blog, he states that the Union has lobbied unsuccessfully in the past for changes to the remit of the GCA, asking for it to be widened and reviewed to reflect the role of
primary producers in the food chain. The GCA’s role will come under statutory review this year, but not the remit.
McCornick says the spat in Westminster has come about because the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee had the GCA, Christine Tacon, giving evidence to them. She had been asked about the impact the potential merger of the two supermarkets would have on primary producers.
She told the Committee she had not even engaged with the Competition and Markets Authority on the matter adding that she did not have the powers within the Grocery code of conduct to do so.
EFRA ‘amazed’ by GCA stance
The Chair of the Environment Farming and Rural Affairs Select Committee (EFRA), Neil Parish, claimed to be amazed that the GCA could not recognise the potential for a new massive retailer, with increased buying power, to impose real damage on our primary producers by squeezing prices to their suppliers.
The obvious conclusion, claims NFU Scotland, and it’s stark as far as McCornick is concerned, is that GCA role must be reviewed to match the needs of the industry.
The full blog can be read here.