It has taken far too long and I for one doubted whether Westminster would deliver, but there is now a Groceries Ombudsman who will be able to fight for both farmers, food producers and food consumers. Even getting to this point has been a hard slog for campaigners inside (and outside) of Westminster. Plaid has campaigned extensively on this issue but we are not their yet. What now needs to be done is for the new Groceries Ombudsman (created by the passing of the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill last week) to be given real teeth to tackle supermarket price fixing (with significant fines) which hits the farmers, the food producers and the consumers of their produce.
Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards said:
"It is very welcome news that the Government has acted to empower the Ombudsman with the ability to levy fines, as advocated by Plaid Cymru since 2004 when Simon Thomas AM, the former MP for Ceredigion introduced a private members bill.
"This move will benefit the thousands of people working within the agricultural sector, particularly within the milk industry.
"The agricultural industry makes a huge contribution to the Welsh economy and its employees deserve to be treated with fairness and respect.
We are therefore pleased to see the Government take steps to ensure that the supermarkets are forced to deliver fairness throughout the supply chain.
"Recently, the dairy industry has faced a crisis due to a cut in the price of milk, leaving farmers at a loss and paying more to produce than sell.
“It is encouraging to learn that the Department for Business have listened to concerns that their original Ombudsman lacked the powers required to protect farmers. I look forward with interest to seeing the amended legislative proposals in detail."