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Farmers welcome supermarket Ombudsman

[Monday 18 February 2008]
Farmers welcome supermarket Ombudsman

PLANS to create a supermarket Ombudsman to mediate between the big retail food chains and their suppliers have been welcomed by farmers and landowners.

The scheme was announced by the Competition Commission in the fifth report in as many years over allegations that the supermarkets were “ripping off” their food suppliers with a combination of bullying and blackmail.

The report met with a mixed reception from consumer groups and conservation bodies, because it appears to give the go-ahead for even more out of town super stores, which have been blamed over the years for killing off High Street shops.

But both Country Land and Busi8ness Association (CLA) and the Tenant Farmers’ Association (TFA) welcomed the proposed Ombudsman.

The real test will come, however, when he or she is appointed. There have been several attempts in the past to set up a voluntary complaints procedure for suppliers –but very few have dared use the system because of fear that they would be black-listed for future contracts.

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