Thursday, 19 May 2011

Tesco wars – you read it here first


I see that the BBC News website is carrying a story about the campaign to stop the onward march of Tesco through our High Streets [http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-13431552].

Those of you who follow this blog regularly will have seen the paragraph I included in my post-holiday summary on 16 May referring to Bristol City Council’s views on this issue. What they are asking the government to do is to refine the A1 use class so that it distinguishes between small local independent retailers and national chain stores, due to the much more significant impact of the latter on local shopping areas.

Much as I dislike Tesco myself (and my wife and I always avoid shopping there or buying their petrol), I have to agree with DCLG’s response to Bristol’s plea for a change to the Use Classes Order, when they pointed out that it is not the role of the planning system to restrict competition, or to give preference to one retailer over another.

As I suggested in my original piece, those who wish to stop Tesco in its ever-increasing bid for retail monopoly should be concentrating on competition law, rather than planning law. Don’t waste time on Eric Pickles (who is a waste of space anyway). Vince Cable is the minister who needs to be convinced to do something about it. As Business Secretary, he is responsible for competition law, and so it is his department which has the power to introduce legislation to tackle this issue.

© MARTIN H GOODAL

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