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Supermarket Ombudsman announcement expected in next Queen's Speech
10:09am Friday 20th April 2012 in News
A SUPERMARKET Ombudsman to look after the interests of farmers and producers will ‘almost certainly’ be announced in the next Queen’s Speech, according to the Westmorland and Lonsdale MP Tim Farron.
Plans to create such a watchdog were included in the coalition agreement and Mr Farron said he was ‘90 per cent sure’ it would be dealt with in the next round of legislation.
“The appointment of a Supermarket Ombudsman has been Liberal Democrat policy for a long time and that is why it was included in the coalition manifesto,” he said. “It is something that farmers and other producers need to ensure they are not exploited by the big supermarkets.”
Mr Farron said he also welcomed the launch of a new strategy aimed at securing the future success of the British dairy sector, which he claimed had been ‘under the jackboots of supermarkets for far too long’.
The Dairy 2020 initiative, launched by Farming Minister Jim Paice in the House of Commons last week, brings together ‘major stakeholders’ and farming industry leaders, including the National Farmers’ Union, to define how the dairy supply chain should look in the future.
Mr Paice said “This strategy sets out a clear vision and ambition for the future of the industry, and is a brilliant example of what can be done when an industry works together in a collaborative and positive way.”
Mr Farron said: “The strategy should ensure more collaboration in the dairy industry to counter the power of the big processors and supermarkets.
“There should also be an emphasis on research and development, on strong animal welfare rules, increasing production, training and improving technology. It’s also important to get young people into the dairy industry.
“Farmers will survive better if they get fairer prices for their produce. One way of doing this is to develop export markets to reduce the reliance on selling to British supermarkets.
“I would like to see the Foreign and Commonwealth Office become involved to help farmers develop their export potential. British produce is valued for its quality and for our animal welfare standards and there’s no reason why it cannot be sold all over the world.”