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 Isis 'jihadi bride' claims forced sex with Yazidi girls is never rape because Koran condones it
- 2 New Zealand 'the best country to work as a prostitute', says sex worker advocacy group
- 3 Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
- 4 Mother 'will allow son's circumcision in return for release from prison'
- 5 Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite
Purity balls: Girls in the US making virginity pledges as fathers vow to 'protect purity'
Female Muay Thai champion hustles coaches to give them a beating
Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
Picture of couple posing with beached dolphin 'that later died' causes outrage
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
iJobs Money & Business
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£45,000 - £55,000: Neil Pavier: Are you looking for your next opportunity for ...
£45,000 - £55,000: Sheridan Maine: Are you a newly qualified ACA/ACCA/ACMA qua...
£50,000 - £60,000: Laura Norton: Are you looking for an opportunity within a w...