Country Land & Business Association
NEWS RELEASE                 
Date: 25th March 2003

REPRISAL FEAR FORCES SMALL SUPPLIERS
TO HOLD SECRET MEETING ON SUPERMARKETS



The Office of Fair Trading has pulled out of a secret meeting today (Tuesday
25th March) with small suppliers to discuss the failure of its Code of
Practice to halt bully-boy tactics by Britain's supermarkets.

The code, brought in after the Competition Commission reviewed the major
food retailers, aimed to eliminate unfair behaviour by the business
'Goliaths' in maximising their profits while forcing small suppliers, from
food to packaging, to cut their margins pushing many close to extinction.

The meeting, at the Country Land and Business Association's central London
HQ, was arranged in secret to avoid supermarkets finding out and making
further trading even more difficult for the small businesses by possible
reprisals and threats of losing their trade.

More than 30 organisations have agreed to meet and include the Fair Deal
Group, small food producers, print and packaging suppliers, fruit and
vegetable associations.

After today's meeting the Country Land and Business Association (CLA)
expects to be asked by the Fair Deal Group to lobby the OFT on the group's
behalf calling for all retailers to be forced to participate in the Code of
Conduct and not just those with over eight per cent of market share. The
code should also be reviewed to find out why it isn't working and make all
necessary changes.

Dr Charles Trotman, CLA Rural Economy Adviser:

" Today's situation highlights the very reason why the FDG and others are
meeting today - the code is too week and the main retailers have too much
power over the suppliers. It is very regretful that the OFT have not turned
up to listen to the real problem and solutions. They are reviewing the code
and should therefore be listening to the people who will be affected by it."

Ends
Notes to Editor:-
The CLA is the leading organisation representing and supporting owners of
land and businesses in rural communities. The CLA exerts political pressure
through authoritative briefing and lobbying of policy makers, and aims to
provide the best advice and service to members.

The Fair Deal Group is a loose coalition of trade associations established
in July 2001, to particularly represent the views and needs of small
suppliers to food retailers in relation to the Office of Fair Trading, and
the Code of Practise which aims to ensure fair trading practises between
supermarkets and their small suppliers.


For further information, contact Pippa Kidson-Trigg 020 7460 7936, 07889 912
881


Pippa Kidson-Trigg
Press & PR
020 7460 7936

Country Land and Business Association (CLA), 16 Belgrave Square, London,
SW1X 8PQ,
pippak@cla.org.uk , www.cla.org.uk,  Mobile 07889 912 881,
Switchboard 020 7235 0511
"BROADBAND RURAL BRITAIN" 
"DEMAND FARMED FUELS!"
 support the campaign :www.cla.org.uk/campaigns
 "CLA:RURAL ECONOMY IS OUR BUSINESS" The CLA is the leading organisation
representing and supporting owners of land and businesses in rural
communities. The CLA exerts political pressure through authoritative
briefing and lobbying of policy makers, and aims to provide the best advice
and service to members.