SNP MEP and member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Alyn Smith has today hailed the publication of European Commission papers scoping out options for tackling unfair trading practices (UTPs) in the food supply chain.
Smith, who has worked on this issue for many years, has called for Scottish farmers to take the time to look at the options put forward in this paper, and respond to the public consultation when it is launched in the autumn.
"I hate to think how many years I have been banging this drum, and hate to think of the families who have walked away from farming in the meantime.
"Today's publication offers many possible routes for the Commission to take on this, including maintaining the status quo, issuing non-legislative guidelines or pursuing strong legislation with binding penalties. I have been utterly clear in my demands - guidelines are not working. They have not worked, they do not work and they will not work. It is time for the Commission to accept this and take a firmer course.
"I urge all those in Scotland who have struggled with cancelled contracts, late payments and listing fees in the past to make their voices heard when the public consultation opens. You can rest assured that the supermarkets won't hold back and so we need as unified and as vocal a message as possible to make sure that concrete and effective action is taking to level up what remains a very uneven playing field."
The document can be downloaded at https://ec.europa.eu/info/law/better-regulation/initiatives/ares-2017-3735471_en