In a Parliamentary debate last week, the minister outlined plans for a draft Bill, which will be introduced after Easter. However, the actual legislation is now unlikely to happen before summer 2012.
NFU vice-president Gwyn Jones said: “Once again it seems that positive words from the government about the need for an adjudicator are not being matched by actions. We weren’t convinced about the need for a draft Bill when the Coalition announced its plans for an adjudicator last year.
“Now it seems the draft Bill will not be introduced before Easter, and the legislation proper not until well into 2012.
“Meanwhile, farmers will continue to suffer from the transfer of excessive risk and unexpected costs by grocery retailers along the supply chain, as identified by the Competition Commission in its 2008 report. And we will continue to witness the adverse effect on investment and innovation down the supply chain, and ultimately the impact this has on consumers.
“The government must now be true to the words contained in the Coalition agreement to “curb abuses of power, which undermine our farmers and act against the long-term interest of consumers”, and introduce an adjudicator as a matter of urgency. We are calling on ministers to give a clear assurance that formal legislation to introduce a Groceries Code Adjudicator will be forthcoming this calendar year.”