With a week left to submit evidence to The Competition Commission regarding its investigation into the UK grocery sector, the National Farmers’ Union Scotland has urged suppliers with concerns over the power of supermarkets, or evidence of its misuse, to contact the CC.


 


The NFU will be submitting evidence to the Commission on behalf of its members, but has also urged individual food producers to contribute to the investigation.


 


“We’ve fought hard to get this inquiry so it is vital that the industry uses the opportunity to raise its concerns. We will be sending in our own detailed evidence, but this is an opportunity for individual producers on the ground to raise concerns they may personally have,” NFUS chief executive Andy Robertson said.


 


The CC has indicated that it will consider requests for anonymity in order to assuage concerns that suppliers who speak out against the supermarkets will be vulnerable to reprisals.


 


“We know that the climate of fear within which too many supermarket suppliers operate limits the amount of hard evidence that will be submitted now, despite the CC’s willingness to consider anonymity.


 


“NFUS has been the mouthpiece for these companies up to now; they are understandably scared of the consequences of speaking out themselves.  However, for this inquiry to get a full grasp of the issues, that must change.  We will be impressing on the CC the need to have closed hearings with full protection for witnesses,” Robertson commented.


 


The deadline for submitting evidence to the Competition Commission inquiry is 7 June.