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Supermarkets: Codes of Practice

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what estimate he has made of the (a) one-off and (b) recurring cost of implementing the Undertakings on Supermarket/Supplier Relations (Code of Practice) to (i) businesses and (ii) the regulators. (125618)

The information is as follows.

(a)(i) and (ii) No assessment of the one-off cost of implementing the Undertakings on Supermarket/Supplier Relations (Code of Practice) has been made. However, consultation on the remedies suggested by the Competition Commission in its 2000 monopoly report on the grocery market and subsequent negotiation of the supermarkets code of practice was a significant project for OFT and DTI lasting some 18 months. Considerably more resources were employed on this project than was normal for the creation of monopoly remedies, given the size and importance of the market and the complexity of the issues involved.

(b)(i) No assessment of the recurring cost to business of implementing the undertakings has been made.

(b)(ii) The undertakings are monitored and enforced by the OFT as part of its function of monitoring, enforcing and reviewing all remedies imposed following Competition Commission inquiries to ensure their continuing effectiveness. The OFT does not keep records or estimates of the costs of monitoring and enforcement of each individual remedy for which it is responsible. However, the supermarkets code and the grocery market generally have accounted for a substantial part of the resources employed in the OFT’s work on remedies.