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Supermarket bosses face City Hall quiz over threat to high streets

PUBLISHED: 09:37 10 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:13 05 October 2010

SUPERMARKET bosses appear before the London Assembly this-morning (Tues) to answer whether they’re pushing independent shops out of business in the high street. It is part of City Hall’s investigation into threats to small retailers by corporate chains pushing into local shopping streets

By Mike Brooke

SUPERMARKET bosses appear before the London Assembly this-morning (Tues) to answer whether they're pushing independent shops out of business in the high street.

It is part of City Hall's investigation into threats to small retailers by corporate supermarket chains pushing into local shopping streets.

The assembly last week called for tougher planning laws to protect local businesses. Its planning committee is investigating what is being done to support London's 35,000 small retailers which provide 100,000 jobs and plough most of their profits back into the community, while big supermarket chains employing fewer people and only put five per cent back.

Those giving evidence today include representatives of the Tesco supermarket chain on one side of the battle and the Federation of Small Businesses on the other.

They face questions on what benefits and threats there are to small retailers, whether chain stores and independents can coexist, whether planning regulations do enough to help local authorities support small shops if they want to resist larger chain stores moving in and whether the days of the small shop are numbered.

It follows a report by industry watchdog BDO Stoy Hayward that retailers can expect the worst of the recession to hit in the New Year with 5,000 predicted to go under in Britain.

Today's 10am public meeting can be viewed on the London Assembly webcast.

The findings of the investigation form the Assembly's contribution to the Mayor's London Plan published next summer.


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