5 December 2005


Banff & Buchan MSP Stewart Stevenson has welcomed the decision by the Scottish National Party to commit to an independent commissioner in place of the current voluntary, and largely ineffective, code of conduct for supermarkets.

Mr Stevenson proposed the motion at the Scottish National Party’s National Council on Saturday in Perth.

Commenting on the Motion, Mr Stevenson said:

“Our farmers have some of the highest quality standards and animal health welfare standards which they must comply with. Often, this has meant significant expenditure for them to comply with EU regulations. It is simply not acceptable that having spent thousands to produce a quality product to the highest welfare standards that the major supermarkets make a dive for cheap imports produced to lower standards when it looks like the price of home-produced beef is going to rise.

“The supermarket chains have failed to show that they can act responsibly and live up to their claims that they support Scottish farmers. They have had their chance under the current, voluntary system. Now is the time to act to protect Scottish farmers and producers from the excesses of the multi-national corporations.

“In committing to statutory protection for farmers and producers, we have shown that it is the SNP which is the party that stands up for rural Scotland.”

NOTE: The Motion proposed by Mr Stevenson at the SNP’s National Council in Perth is as follows:

National Council views with great concern the irresponsible actions of the major supermarket chains regarding cheap beef imports; notes that Scotch Beef is produced to far higher welfare standards than imported beef; applauds the stance taken by Scottish farmers in taking direct action at the doors of the supermarkets to promote their quality product; believes that the major supermarket chains are not driven by the interests of either producer or consumer and considers it time for urgent action to address the situation.

National Council therefore commits the Scottish National Party to a policy of introduction of an independent commissioner to replace the ineffective ‘Supermarket Code of Conduct’ and assume the role of the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) in ensuring that farmers and producers get a fair deal for a quality product.

Stewart Stevenson
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