The Code of Practice comes into force on 4 February 2010 and this will be quickly followed by a consultation, beginning in February, on how best to enforce the GSCOP, including who that body might be and the powers it could have.
Consumer minister Kevin Brennan said:
The revised Grocery Supply Code of Practice (GSCOP) is a great improvement on the current regime. However, the power that large grocery retailers remain able to wield over their suppliers can still create pressures on small producers, especially in these difficult economic times, which ultimately may impact on consumers.
Free and fair competition is the key to a healthy market and it is right that there should be an enforcement body to make sure that consumers are getting the best value for money.
We do not anticipate a significant impact on consumer prices or workers resulting from the creation of an enforcement body. It is not a question of whether a body is needed, but exactly how that body will operate. The next step is to consult formally on its nature and role, to ensure that all interested parties can make their views heard and that informed decisions are made.
Environment Secretary Hilary Benn said:
The new ombudsman will help strike the right balance between farmers and food producers getting a fair deal, and supermarkets enabling consumers to get the high quality British food that they want, at an affordable price.