James Moore: Supermarket solution is in hands of regulators
Outlook It seems as if the supermarkets have at last bitten off more than they can chew. In a surprise move, the Government has given the Groceries Code Adjudicator the power to fine them if it decides they are squeezing prices to suppliers to below market rates, a constant complaint of farmers.
Cue howls of outrage from the supermarkets, and grim warnings of higher prices to consumers to come. Which is exactly what you'd expect them to say.
In one respect, this makes sense. There's not a lot of point setting out codes to govern behaviour if they don't have any teeth.
But what this is actually doing is treating the symptom as much as the disease. The only reason there is a need for such a regulator is because of a profound market imbalance between the power of the supermarkets when compared to their suppliers.
The grocery industry has become concentrated in too few hands, and the relentless march of the big four back on to the high street through their expansion into and takeover of the convenience sector is making a bad situation worse.
There are good reasons why supermarkets are just about the only part of the retail sector it's worth investing in right now.
Giving the code adjudicator some teeth might ease some of the pressure on suppliers for now. But the only way to solve this problem long term is for the competition regulators to bare their teeth.
- 1 Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin file for divorce after 10 years of marriage
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 4 Bookies now say Ed Miliband is more likely to be prime minister than David Cameron
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin file for divorce after 10 years of marriage
Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor David Dinsmore reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
'Jihadi John': Isis executioner Mohammed Emwazi wanted to wage jihad in Somalia until his friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
Parma, Missouri: 80 per cent of town's police quit after first black mayor is elected
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
iJobs Money & Business
£12000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding Insurance Brokerag...
£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...
£30 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: We are seeking a Pricing Analyst with experienc...
£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...