Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Tipping the scales of injustice?

The news today is awash with talk of an independent ombudsman that has been appointed to resolve disputes between the big supermarkets and their suppliers.

My personal opinion is that their approach to planning permission and the 'competition test' leaves a lot to be desired. Many parties (including Friends of the Earth) felt this was a missed opportunity to do someting for local shops.

I think it's a missed opportunity to use the planning system to achieve greater diversity and vibrancy on our High Streets.

But when it comes to protecting suppliers, this appointment seems to have already taken great strides in the right direction:

  • The ombudsman will investigate any complaints made by suppliers
  • It will levy financial penalties on those who don't comply
  • And most importantly, it will receive information confidentially from suppliers, so there's no concern about ruining business relations by speaking up.

Of course, ASDA's not pleased. Andy Bond, their CEO said, "The commission's proposals on the new code and an ombudsman could cost the industry hundreds of millions, leading to higher prices for customers which will hit families hard at a time when they are already feeling the pinch."

Yes, Andy, instead we should definitely keep prices down at the expense of the planet and the nation's producers. Man, doing the right thing really sucks. Read more on the BBC website.

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