Retailers have welcomed the publication of the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which would pave the way for greater protection for small suppliers and retailers from harmful supermarket buying practices.

The Grocery Codes Adjudicator (GCA) was recommended by the Competition Commission following its two-year grocery market investigation. When introduced, the new regulator will be charged with investigating abusive practices and arbitrating disputes between supermarkets and suppliers.

The Bill identifies powers for the GCA to investigate complaints from suppliers, arbitrate disputes between suppliers and large retailers, and produce an annual report on compliance.

The Association of Convenience Stores urged the government to move swiftly in taking the Bill through Parliament.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the creation of an adjudicator to protect the interests of grocery consumers. The implementation of a regulator was recommended by the Commission more than three years ago already. 

“We urge ministers to do all they can to speed up the implementation of a measure that is designed to protect consumer interests.” 

He also  welcomed the fact that the Business Select Committee would be scrutinising the Bill.