The Government’s own Regulatory Impact Analysis of their Competition Bill has warned that it could lead to job losses, according to Senator Thomas Byrne, Fianna Fáil MEP candidate in the Midlands-North West constituency.
In a comment on the Government’s Competition Bill, Senator Byrne pointed out that a Regulatory Impact Assessment carried out by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation states that complying with the proposed law could cause “possible job losses”.
Senator Byrne said, “Minister Bruton’s own assessment of the Bill, prepared for him by his Department, warns of possible job losses. Higher prices could result in the resumption of people going North to shop for their weekly groceries and thus lead to job losses, according to the same Regulatory Impact Analysis.
“The Department also admits that the additional cost of sourcing groceries could force retailers to seek supplies from outside the State, resulting in more imports. Farmers need to be wary of false Government promises on this issue. The Regulatory Impact Assessment published with the Bill is so short of detail that it suggests the Government may have no real intention of bringing into force the regulations on the grocery trade.
“There is clearly is a requirement for a better balance between food producers and large multiples. However, the Government’s proposal has not been thought through at all. The idea that a Bill has been published which the Government admits could cause job losses is shocking.
“A determined Competition Authority, fully resourced, would be well able to tackle unfair practices in the grocery sector, together possibly with a fully thought through grocery regulations.
“The Government’s ‘job loss’ Bill does not cut it – either for farmers and consumers, said Senator Byrne.
“As someone who worked for several years on European Competition Law and has expertise in that area, I intend to work on strengthening EU safeguards for consumers, if I am elected to the European Parliament.