Local Young Apprentice Competition

A Message from Foundations

Dear all

As some of you may know, we have organised a ‘family fun day’ on 29 September in Spalding. We have a ‘young apprentice’ style competition, with a great prize for the winner. We are looking for three more contestants for the competition. They must be 15-16 years old and belong to a group (i.e. sports team, cadets, etc).

Please could you pass the message on to any individual or any group who may be interested. This is a great competition for young people, and a really good opportunity for a community group to get some publicity without having to do anything for it!

The website for the event is http://www.familyenterpriseday.co.uk.

Thanks ever so much.

Local press helps the mall monsters stick it to our town

A nasty piece of propaganda from the ‘shopping mall’ industry was printed in today’s Lincs Free Press and cannot go unchallenged. Having penned a letter criticising the newspaper for printing it, I thought I’d hedge my bets by repeating it here.

Dear sir,

I write to express my disappointment that you should print propaganda from the commercial property industry, that has nothing good to say about our town – Property page 17 July, ‘High Streets…can’t cope’.

The mix of fact and totally biased opinion, was unremitting negative and suggested every high street was destined to be annihilated by the shopping centres Mr Nick Round makes his living from promoting.

This was neither freedom of speech, nor simple advertising, although I’m sure Mr Round’s company was more than pleased to get the free advertising. Neither, given its position in the newspaper, was it personal opinion and it certainly wasn’t news. I would not be surprised to see almost the same article repeated in every local newspaper across the country, with just the statistics and the name of the town being undermined, changed to suit.

Sainsbury’s Justin King – It’s not fair, it’s not our fault!

The top dog at Sainsbury claims that high street shops have brought about their own demise and that it is nothing to do with the supermarkets he and his mates in the business have infested our towns and cities with. Is he just been funny or bullish, or does he really believe what he’s saying?

It might of been just possible to see the supermarkets as mounting fair competition to other food stuff providers when they were of a town centre scale and location. However, as soon as they decided to seek green field sites, away from centres of population, followed by selling an ever increasing range of non-food goods, it was no longer the case. The purchasing muscle deployed by supermarkets, combined with a ruthless and cut throat approach to pricing from their suppliers, means that the small independent retailer, of the standard fare, has no hope of competing.

If Mr King really believes that town centre shops are not falling victim to his brand of business, then he, along with all the other supermarket bosses, should be doing something to support and
encourage them, instead of trampling them under foot. Nor should he suggest that they can afford to run loyalty schemes, ala Nectar points, that will cut even further in to already threadbare profit margins.

Why don’t the supermarkets set up an investment fund that buys up blocks of town centre shops in areas that are struggling. They could then offer these premises to startup businesses that were either non-existent, or poorly represented in that high street, at a peppercorn rent. Only when the numbers started to add up, would the rent begin to increase and then at a very modest rate. Taxpayers would also do their bit by giving business rates relief for the same period. Even if the shop never became particularly profitable, as long it was providing a valuable service and adding colour and variety to its town centre, it would be supported. A pipe dream I know and something the voracious share holders of the big 4 would probably never wear, but one
Iives in hope.

Another day, another ‘sell off’?

I see from the latest Planning News that the government now thinks that council planning services are fair game when it comes to competition – is there no limit to what they will try to ‘sell off’, or should I say more accurately, off load?

How do you convert what is currently an impartial process, that is all about achieving the best outcome, into a profit making business, without it becoming biased and open to accusations of corruption?

The big question for me is, what damage will they do to the current system in order to attract these competitors?