Maryhill – A ‘TESCO TOWN?’

Fears are growing that the presence of Tesco in Maryhill in reaching saturation point. It follows the opening of another Tesco Express near the top of Queen Margaret Drive – just minutes from the door of the 24 hour Maryhill superstore that re-opened in late 2010. It also comes after the arrival of another, smaller Tesco Express opposite the Community Central Halls on Maryhill Road.

Already, concerns are being raised at the proximity of the new Queen Margaret Drive shop to a whole row of locally-owned businesses, from  coffee shops and cafes to a greengrocer and newsagents, that sit adjacent to the new Tesco. A low
profile sticker campaign – urging people to support local shopkeepers – has hit the street, with residents and shopkeepers alike expressing concerns that the arrival of the new store could have a detrimental affect on the street – and the wider community.

Local shops are in many ways the heart  of our  neighbourhoods. Yet thousands of small independent stores are being forced to close every year – leaving our high streets and local communities ghost lands, while consumers flock to out of town malls and huge hypermarkets along the lines of Tesco Maryhill. Here, the Burgh Angel seeks to bust some of the myths surrounding supermarkets and their supposed ‘benefits’:

Jobs?

Any job creation is obviously a good thing. But we need to keep things in perspective – most of the jobs big supermarkets create are low paid and insecure. In fact, Tesco recently trialled stores in which every employee – bar the managers – were on temporary contracts. It’s a far cry from the kind of mass investment in skills, training and secure jobs our communities need – and it gets even worse when big supermarkets have actually been proven to lead to a net decrease in jobs in the local area, given their impact on smaller businesses.

Cheapest food?

Popular logic would have it that supermarkets stock the widest variety of goods and have the lowest prices. Yet research has actually shown that supermarkets, especially when it comes to healthy food like fruit and vegetables, can actually be more expensive than smaller retailers.

The Angel View

Let’s be honest: most of us shop in Tesco – it’s hard not to. Many of us have friends and family employed there as well.. It would be madness to suggest that people should stop buying stuff from Tesco – but spare a thought for your local corner shops, and the long-term consequences on our high streets, as well. After all, Tesco are a huge, multi-billion profit making business – and the money they make for their shareholders has always been what comes ahead of the needs of
local communities like Maryhill – no matter how much their corporate spin might suggest otherwise.

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