Competition Commission’s report only tackles ‘the tip of the iceberg’ – by Brian Binley MP

portrait-brianbinley-2.jpgNorthampton South MP Brian Binley has welcomed the Competition Commission’s report into supermarkets but says more needs to be done to reinvigorate town centres shopping.

Under proposals released by the Competition Commission a Supermarkets Ombudsman would be appointed to resolve disputes between retailers and their food suppliers. Other recommendations include changing planning laws to give shoppers a wider choice of supermarkets in their local areas.

Mr Binley said,

“The supermarket sector is currently dominated by four major chains and these have a great pull on consumers. Whilst I welcome the Commission’s report more needs to be done to address the difficulties faced by more independent and individual retailers.

“Of course it is necessary for consumers to get a good deal with the supermarkets but I am disappointed that the High Street was not tied into the report a little more. Simply suggesting improved competition can be reached with more major supermarkets isn’t the conclusion I wanted to see and certainly isn’t going to lead to the revival of town centres, which we all want to see.”

Mr Binley, who chairs a Conservative Commission into Small Shops on the High Street, due to report next month, said that town centres need more help. He said,

“One of the recommendations is for a “competition test” to be applied by Councils when deciding whether to give planning permission for new large supermarkets. Such a test already exists, the ‘Needs’ test, which applies to out-of-town development and I welcome that being extended to cover inner-town development as well. However, the Government is presently considering plans to abolish the Needs test, at a time when it is needed most.”

Ends

Notes to Editors

Interested parties now have three weeks to comment on these recommendations before the final report is published in April. Final Competition Commission Report is due in April this year.

For further information please contact Brian Binley on 0207 219 4447

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