SupermarketA new ombudsman with the power to stop Britain's 10 biggest supermarkets bullying their suppliers has been announced.

Christine Tacon, the former boss of the Co-operative's farming business, will be able to impose fines and "name and shame" supermarkets who are not treating suppliers fairly.


The announcement comes five years after the post was first recommended by the Competition Commission following a lengthy investigation which found that large retailers were passing on excessive risks and unexpected costs to their suppliers.

The commission argued that the power of large supermarkets was having an adverse impact on suppliers and consumers.

It was initially hoped that the industry would voluntarily move to launch a body but the Commission stepped in when it failed to garner support.

Ms Tacon will enforce the Groceries Supply Code of Practice, which came into force in 2010 and regulates activities between the 10 biggest supermarkets with an annual turnover of £1 billion and their direct suppliers.

She will earn £69,000 a year for the three-days-a-week job of "groceries code adjudicator", once the creation of the post is approved by Parliament.

She said: "Coming from a commercial background, I am sure that if we can increase trust between retailers and their direct suppliers, it will lead to greater efficiency and can only have a beneficial impact on the rest of the supply chain."

Ms Tacon, who is a chartered engineer, was awarded a CBE for services to agriculture in 2004.

Consumer and Competition Minister Jo Swinson said: "This is an incredibly important position in the retail groceries sector, making sure that large supermarkets treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully."