Carmichael slams Co-op proposals as ‘predatory’

Alistair Carmichael has described new supermarket plans by the Co-op as “predatory”.

The isles MP has highlighted the important role played by independent shops in the isles and the support they offer local food producers.

His comments have come after 26 people fed into a consultation process run by Sandwick Community Council, which discussed the plans on Tuesday.

Concerns have been raised that new stores planned for Sandwick and Scalloway could cost impact on local jobs and businesses.

“[Shetland’s local farming trade] is, I would suggest, an exemplar for how agriculture can feed into a rural or island economy such as ours,” he said.

“Crucial to that operation, however, is the existence of a thriving network of local shops. My concern today is that it’s many of these local shops that are currently under threat.”

He said local shops were “quite clear” that their future outlook would be “bleak” if applications for the new stores were approved.

“That network of rural shops, however, is absolutely critical to food production in the Northern Isles. So, the farmers that I’ve spoken about who are now producing finished cattle for slaughter and sale in the local retail sector will struggle if that network of local shops is not there.

“One of the local shops that will be most directly affected told me last week that they reckon that they take goods from no fewer than eighty different local suppliers. These are all small and medium sized enterprises that are never going to be selling in in the same quantity to a big outlet.

“Of course the Co-op will tell you that they take from local producers, and that is true, but if you listen also to the local food producers they will tell you that the Co-op will only take their products on their terms.

“Local suppliers cannot survive on the margins that the supermarkets give them, so the existence of that network of local shops is absolutely critical to the future viability of agriculture in Orkney and Shetland.

“The Co-op does have a long tradition of being at the heart of Highland and Island communities, but the Co-op Group today is a very, very different beast. They operate, effectively, in the same predatory manner, bearing down on the suppliers in communities such as mine, as you would expect of any other supermarket.

“I do hope that they will understand the damage that they risk doing to the very delicate and complex economic ecosystem that communities such as ours rely on. Once you lose an economic ecosystem such as that, you will never easily recreate it.”

ONE COMMENT

Add Your Comment
  • Gareth Blance

    • April 29th, 2021 20:12

    Cutting the release of Co2 emissions from traffic on the local roads, May be much more Important than capital gains of local business, There are no future there are no return later, The Impact are as experts suggest Imediate right now, Local business can change to help assist such business as the Coop, Why are the Idea being slammed by our own MP Alistair Carmichael, Alistair Carmichael MP must see reason for such a move, At one time no shop were better than local shops, Everyone shopped local at that time.

    REPLY

Add Your Comment

Please note, it is the policy of The Shetland Times to publish comments and letters from named individuals only. Both forename and surname are required.

Comments are moderated. Contributors must observe normal standards of decency and tolerance for the opinions of others.

The views expressed are those of contributors and not of The Shetland Times.

The Shetland Times reserves the right to decline or remove any contribution without notice or stating reason.

Comments are limited to 200 words but please email longer articles or letters to editorial@shetlandtimes.co.uk for consideration and include a daytime telephone number and your address. If emailing information in confidence please put "Not for publication" in both the subject line and at the top of the main message.

200 words left

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

logo

Get Latest News in Your Inbox

Join the The Shetland Times mailing list to get one daily email update at midday on what's happening in Shetland.