The third reading of the Groceries Adjudicator Bill, final detailed line by line scrutiny, begins today (Tuesday 24 July).
During report stage last week members considered price cuts faced by dairy farmers as more than 2,500 dairy farmers came to Parliament to make public the cuts and their concerns.
Today members further scrutinise the bill in the third and final reading in the House of Lords.
Amendments can be made on issues previously not covered or voted on and third reading offers members the opportunity to tidy up the bill before it is passed over to the House of Commons.
The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill so far
About the Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill
The bill was introduced in the House of Lords on 10 May and examines the practices of larger supermarket chains with regard to their suppliers, including farmers and small-scale producers.
Following a Competition Commission report published in 2008 concerns were raised that retailers were demanding retrospective charges from suppliers and altering contractual arrangements.
The new groceries code will apply to the UK's ten 'large' retailers, each with a turnover of more than one billion pounds in groceries. The code will ensure that retailers:
- deal fairly and lawfully with suppliers
- do not vary supply agreements retrospectively
- pay suppliers within a reasonable time.
What is third reading?
Third reading in the chamber is the final chance for the Lords to debate and change the contents of the bill. At least three sitting days usually pass between report stage and third reading.
The day before third reading starts, amendments (proposals for change) are published in a marshalled list – in which all the amendments are placed in order. Amendments on related subjects are grouped together and a list ('groupings of amendments') is published on the day.
Unlike the House of Commons, amendments can be made at third reading in the House of Lords, provided the issue has not been fully considered and voted on at an earlier stage.
Amendments at third reading in the Lords are often used to clarify specific parts of the bill and to allow the government to make good any promises of changes to the bill made at earlier stages.
The Groceries Code Adjudicator Bill started in the Lords. It will go to the House of Commons for its first reading. The Commons reprints the bill with the Lords amendments.