Page last updated at 20:05 GMT, Monday, 14 May 2012 21:05 UK

Cable hails creation of supermarket regulator

A new regulator will ensure that supermarkets work in the "best, long-term interests of consumers" and "treat their suppliers fairly and lawfully", Business Secretary Vince Cable has told MPs.

As MPs debated aspects of the Queen's Speech relating to business and the economy on 14 May 2012, Mr Cable said the government would give the new body the power to fine large retailers, if naming and shaming proved to be an inadequate sanction.

He said supermarkets constituted "a highly concentrated industry, buying and selling to large numbers of suppliers and customers".

It was "a classic economic textbook case where intervention is necessary to prevent monopoly profits occurring", he argued.

Mr Cable also explained how the government was planning to make it easier for small companies to fire staff who were under-performing

He said workers' rights would be protected.

But shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna dismissed this claim as "nonsense".

He complained that the government had "offered no hope" to small businesses, families faced with increasing energy bills and transport costs, and those looking for work.

The Scottish National Party's Stewart Hosie criticised a perceived lack of measures to spark growth in the government's "feeble" legislative proposals.

He said: "It's not enough to hope for growth, to will for it, and then to fail entirely to bring forward the policies in the Queen's Speech which would actually deliver it."


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