The convenience industry was praised in the Scottish Parliament yesterday (19th August) when Edinburgh MSP Gordon MacDonald tabled amotion highlighting the importance of convenience stores to his constituency.
The motion led to a debate in Holyrood over contribution of convenience stores to the local and national economy. The MSP said he had become extremely concerned about the negative impact expansion from the big four supermarkets and the discounters is having on independent retailers in his constituency. The motion received overwhelming cross party support – under parliamentary procedure this meant that it had to be taken forward for debate in the chamber at Holyrood.
The importance of the debate was underlined by the fact that Minister for Enterprise Fergus Ewing MSP spoke on behalf of the Scottish government. In his speech the Minister “pledged” to work with convenience store retailers on the issues identified “as creating barriers to successs.”
Gordon Macdonald MSP said; “I know from my own constituency that convenient stores play a vital part in the local economy and provide our communities with valuable services. It is important that the Scottish Parliament recognises this and that’s why I was determined to bring forward this debate.”
Attending the debate were Premier retailers Dennis and Linda Williams, whose multiple SLR Award-winning convenience store is in the Macdonald’s constituency. Dennis Williams said: “We need our MSPs to understand how important convenience stores are to the local economy. Gordon is a great supporter of independent retailers in his constituency and he has done an outstanding job getting this debate into parliament.”
SGF has worked closely with the MSP to table the motion and has issued a briefing paper on the debate to all of Scotland’s 129 MSPs. Public Affairs Manager John Lee said, “This is a major step forward for the independent convenience store sector in Scotland and we applaud Gordon Macdonald for his support for our industry. Our members use local tradesman, local shop fitters, local suppliers for produce, local garages; they each re-invest hundreds of thousands of pounds back into the local economy. This has now been recognised by the Scottish Parliament. We need action – we will take the Minister at his word and meet with him to discuss key issues such as the planning system, competition and business rates.”
Research by SGF into the ‘Local Multiplier Effect’ is showing that a typical convenience store re-invests some £250,000 into the local economy.