In Prime Minister’s Questions today, Jo quizzed Gordon Brown over Tesco’s planned superstore in Milngavie.
Jo expressed her concerns to Gordon Brown that Tesco and other large supermarket chains are taking over communities across the country and having a negative impact on small local businesses.
Jo reminded Gordon Brown that during the last General Election, he chose to visit Tesco in Milngavie to campaign for Labour candidate John Lyons. She described Tesco as “riding roughshod” over local opinion with its plans to expand the store.
The Prime Minister said the Government had “tried” invest in regenerating town centres, but he did not agree with Jo’s assertion that large supermarkets wield “too much power”.
Commenting, Jo said:
“As the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown ought to know that many of Britain’s towns are being taken over by large supermarkets which are sapping the life from our town centres.
“Gordon Brown visited Tesco in Milngavie before the last General Election to support the Labour candidate, and he should surely understand the fears of local people over how a superstore will impact a town as small and picturesque as Milngavie. I am disappointed that he did not agree that supermarket giants wield too much power.”
The text of Jo’s question to The Prime Minister Gordon Brown appears below:
Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire) (LD): When the Prime Minister last visited East Dunbartonshire, he was campaigning for my Labour predecessor at Tesco in Milngavie. Tesco now proposes a giant store in the midst of the town’s conservation area, riding roughshod over local opinion. Five years on, does the Prime Minister agree that large supermarkets such as Tesco wield too much power over our communities?
The Prime Minister: We have tried to put in money and help to renovate local shopping centres in the centres of towns, including the centres of smaller towns, but I have to say that a planning decision is not a matter for this House but one for the planning authorities.