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Southport Reporter®

Edition No. 193

Date:- 27 March 2005

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FPB supermarket campaign wins Government support

A CAMPAIGN to crack down on the 'bully boy' tactics of supermarket giant Sainsbury has the backing and the waight of Small Firms Minister Nigel Griffiths this week. Mr Griffiths has written to Roger Matthews, Finance Director of J Sainsbury plc, after the Forum of Private Business (FPB) alerted him to a decision by Sainsbury to impose onerous new payment terms on 1900 small suppliers. 

The Minister's intervention coincides with the publication of a long-awaited Office of Fair trading report into the code of practice governing the relationship between supermarkets and their supplier, which is expected to be released later this week.

Mr Griffiths has told the FPB that he wants to learn the background to the issue, saying the Government is committed to ensuring that small businesses are paid promptly. Since Mr Griffiths' has written to Sainsbury it has climbed down on its earlier decision to lengthen payment terms from 21 days to as much as 49 days for invoice payment. Applauding the Minister's swift action, its Chief Executive, Nick Goulding said the Government had to take a tough line with the supermarkets.

"Large supermarket chains have increasingly been using bully boy tactics when dealing with small suppliers. 

Many small businesses rely on supermarkets for their livelihood and are consequently held over a barrel by the big names. Government must ensure that small firms are treated fairly at all times. We are delighted to see the Government act to clamp down on this unacceptable behaviour. 

Mr Griffiths has told us that he will write to us again once he has received a reply from Sainsbury and we must hope that both Sainsbury and the other major supermarket chains will commit to treating the suppliers upon whom their success has been built much more fairly in the future."
said Nick Goulding.

The FPB has campaigned for a number of years to improve the payment culture in the UK, was instrumental in having a Statutory Right to Interest on Late Payment added to the statute book in 1998 and was a founder member of the Better Payment Practice Group.

KNOX-JOHNSTON TO CHAMPION SEA LIVERPOOL 2005

SIR Robin Knox-Johnson has been appointed patron of Liverpool's Capital of Culture themed year - Sea Liverpool 2005. Sir Robin, the first person to sail solo, non-stop around the world in 1968-69, will champion the city's pledge to involve every child in a maritime activity during 2005. Knighted in 1995, Sir Robin founded the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race to encourage people who have never sailed before to take to the seas.

Liverpool's relationship with Sir Robin has developed since the city entered The Times Clipper 2000 Race. The city then became host port for the 2002/3 race and will be host port for the 05-06 and 07-08 races. The Clipper 05-06 Race leaves Liverpool at noon on Sunday, September 18. An estimated crowd of 100,000 people are expected to line the banks of the Mersey to wave off the 10-strong international fleet, which also features the 68-foot Liverpool '08 Clipper.

Sir Robin said:- "I am truly honoured to be patron of Sea Liverpool and to be part of the city's celebration of the sea. I believe the city's Sea Liverpool 2005 campaign is most admirable, for it assists children in gaining an understanding and appreciation of our oceans. The Clipper 05-06 race education programme will further acquaint them to the joy of supporting their local team in a competitive global arena. The Clipper racing fleet, including the Liverpool 08 yacht, will join the Royal Navy's spectacular International Fleet Review in June 2005 the biggest of its kind seen in the UK for a quarter century. The start of the Clipper 05-06 Race will also play an important part in the Sea Liverpool programme and we are overjoyed to be supporting this tremendous initiative."

The Sea Liverpool pledge will see more than 1,000 nautical events staged in 2005, with the intention of giving the city's school children a taste of life at sea. As part of the pledge, the city council is supporting Clipper Ventures' web-based educational programme for children to track the progress of the Clipper 05-06 Round the World Yacht Race.

Schools will chart the course of the Clipper 05-06 fleet as it sets sail from Liverpool's Albert Dock and races round the world, not only gaining a wealth of knowledge about sailing and travel, but also learning about the environment and cultures in other countries

Leader of Liverpool city council, Mike Storey, said:- "Sir Robin is an inspiration to sailors all over the world, and through the Clipper Race continues to bring sailing to new generations and new audiences. I can't think of a better person to have as Patron of Sea Liverpool 2005. Liverpool is lucky to have such an ambassador to promote our aims nationally and internationally. Our entire year is aimed at encouraging young people to participate in maritime activities. That is a pledge I know Sir Robin holds dearly and one which he will help us to achieve."

This year's Capital of Culture theme corresponds with a national series of events, SeaBritain 2005, held to celebrate Britain's maritime heritage, centred on the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

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