New retail leadership group: Wishart seeks assurances for the voice of local


Shetland MSP and Scottish Liberal Democrat, Beatrice Wishart has called on the Scottish Government to ensure that local shops have a voice in a new Industry Leadership Group for retail announced by the Scottish Government. Wishart questioned the minister during a Ministerial Statement on retail strategy on Thursday (24th March) afternoon.

Asking for assurance that local shops won’t have their voices squeezed out the Minister responded that the ‘breadth and diversity’ of the sector and geography would be represented.

Questioning the Minister Ms Wishart asked:

“Rural, remote, and island areas rely on local shops that are often at the heart of the community. I also pay tribute to their hard work.

“They are also faced with barriers such as high delivery costs, minimum ordering that does not always align with storage and sales capacity limits, and planning that allows new supermarkets to be built on their doorsteps.

“Can the minister assure me that, given those issues, local community shops such as those found in my constituency and in other island and rural areas will be listened to by the new leadership group and that their voices will not be squeezed out?”

After her question Ms Wishart said:

“It has been a really tough time for many smaller retailers and it is important that community and local shops do not have their voices squeezed out by the big retailers. The experiences of local retail can be significantly different to those in more urban areas. Added to that is the change in people’s shopping habits during the pandemic, with much more online ordering, so we need to ensure we do all we can to support the local and often independent retailers trying to increase footfall in our high streets and smaller communities.”

 

ENDS

 

Notes to Editors

 

Ms Wishart’s question can be viewed here.

 

The exchange can be read below:

 

Beatrice Wishart

Rural, remote, and island areas rely on local shops that are often at the heart of the community. I also pay tribute to their hard work. They are also faced with barriers such as high delivery costs, minimum ordering that does not always align with storage and sales capacity limits, and planning that allows new supermarkets to be built on their doorsteps. Can the minister assure me that, given those issues, local community shops such as those found in my constituency and in other island and rural areas will be listened to by the new leadership group and that their voices will not be squeezed out?

 

Tom Arthur

Absolutely. I assure Beatrice Wishart that the industry leadership group will not just represent the breadth and diversity of the sector but the breadth and diversity of the geography of Scotland, and its different localities.


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