Legislation aimed at ensuring supermarkets deal fairly and lawfully with suppliers has been included in the Queen’s Speech.

The government has used today’s Queen’s Speech to push ahead with the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill, which aims to hold large retailers to account.

Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman said small retailers would benefit from the Bill because “everyone suffers when big stores bully suppliers”.

“In the case of small retailers the effect can be the supplier transferring the costs of unsustainable agreements with big customers onto smaller ones,” he added. “This could be through increased prices, reduced promotional support or simply worsening service standards.

“In 2008 the Competition Commission recognised that unfair practices in the grocery market ultimately harmed the consumer. Bringing in this law is well overdue.“

The Adjudicator’s role would be to ensure adherence to the Groceries Code, which obliges large retailers to deal fairly and lawfully with their suppliers. Those failing to do so could be fined or ‘named and shamed’.