In Britain, hefty fines for pushing suppliers around?

Supermarkets like Tesco might have to pay for violating industry code of conduct

Imagine if Stephen Harper rose during Question Period and said that, yes, he’d like to see supermarkets fined when they exert too much control over their suppliers.

Never gonna happen here? Perhaps.

But it did in Britain this past week when Prime Minster David Cameron rose in the House of Commons to say he’s in favour of allowing that country’s grocery watchdog to issue big fines.

Cameron’s comment was in response to an MP’s question about what the government is doing to help Britain’s struggling dairy industry, which has seen big price drops lately.

Any fines against supermarkets would come from Britain’s Groceries Code Adjudicator, who oversees a code of conduct between the U.K.'s largest supermarkets and their suppliers.

The adjudicator, Christine Tacon, has asked the government to give her the power to fine retailers up to one per cent of their revenues.

Since her appointment, Tacon has taken grocery chains like Tesco to task for violating the code of conduct. For instance, grocers, she says, have charged suppliers for eye-level shelf position and demanded lump sum payments prior to the retailers’ financial year-end.

Read the full story here.

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