support for a ‘supermarket ombudsman’

Following the success of the recent Fairtrade conference at Rheged earlier this month – in which Rory committed to sponsoring events in Parliament to raise awareness of the need for fairer deals for farmers in the retail supply chain – Rory has announced a parliamentary event to support a grocery adjudicator. Also know as a ‘supermarket ombudsman’, the grocery adjudicator would have powers to settle disputes between retailers and suppliers, and has been recommended by the House of Commons’ Business, Innovation and Skills Committee as the Grocery Code Adjudicator Bill passes through Parliament.

Rory will sponsor an event in Parliament in the New Year that it is hoped will involve organisations as diverse as Fairtrade, the National Farmers Union, ActionAid, Friends of the Earth and Traidcraft.  The event will highlight the importance of this new legislation, and will include speeches from Cumbrian farming representatives, as well as Fairtrade producers.

Rory said: “Cumbrian farmers are subject, too, to the whims of an unforgiving global commodity market, where ruthless retailers dominate. We have a duty now to protect and grow our small farms, which are also our lifeblood – created through centuries of effort, sustained through a tough, intelligent approach to the soil. They sustain families, pay for the rural economy, manage the environment, and support tourism. And as the world population soars past seven billion, there is an ever-growing demand for food – and in particular milk and meat, in which Cumbria specialises. Saving our farms is, therefore, also a long-term commercial investment. A major part of this is ensuring that suppliers are not bullied by retailers. I absolutely support the committee’s recommendation for a ‘grocery adjudicator’, or supermarket ombudsman, and there is a real chance – if we work hard to promote this idea – that the supermarket ombudsman will become a reality. I’m delighted to be sponsoring this event in Parliament to raise awareness.”

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