Archived press release
Press & Media

As the influential All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group release their conclusions on the future of British High streets, the Tescopoly Alliance has launched a new resource that, for the first time links the local campaigns resisting Tesco's advance

Launching the new resource today (Wednesday 15 February) the Tescopoly Alliance warns that there is a growing movement of people in towns and cities across the UK, who believe that Tesco and other big superstores threaten to destroy their communities. Increasingly, local people are joining together to fight new supermarket developments that they believe pose a grave threat to the health of their local economies and communities.

The Tescopoly Alliance will include a new campaign map and provide information on local campaigns around the country, from Inverness in Scotland to Rye on the Sussex coast, which are holding back the advance of the big stores. Critically, the site also allows campaigners to establish links and work together on their campaigns. Often, even the most dedicated local campaigns are overwhelmed by the national might and resources at Tesco's disposal. By creating a network of local campaigns across the country Tescopoly is aiming to tip the balance back towards local communities.

Friends of the Earth Supermarket Campaigner Sandra Bell, speaking for the Tescopoly Alliance said:

"Tesco and the other supermarket giants are using their power to get their way in local planning battles - riding roughshod over the democratic process. By sharing campaign experiences local communities are already joining forces to fight back at the local level.

"We hope that the report from the all-party group will help to convince the Government and the competition authorities of the urgent need to protect our local shops and high streets by tightening up planning regulations and reining in the big supermarkets."

Local campaigns on the site include:

CAASH, the Campaign Against Another Supermarket in Hadleigh in Suffolk, where local people have been battling Tesco since 1999

Tesco town in Inverness, where Tesco already take £0.51 in every £1 spent on groceries and, having already been granted planning permission for a fourth store, are pushing to increase its size

Queen's Market in Upton Park, London, where local people are battling plans to uproot a 100 year old local market catering to ethnically diverse and deprived local community to build an Asda

Local campaigner, Chris Hull, whose struggle in Norwich is included on the site, said:

"It has struck us how easy it is for Tesco to 'pick off' each site on the assumption that local campaigns stay local, and don't talk to other groups around the country. Tescopoly means that local groups can talk to one another, which in turn builds a stronger, more united and ultimately more effective movement against supermarket expansion".

But the Tescopoly Alliance believes that whatever is done to help campaigners locally, national action is needed if we are to stop the increasing domination of our grocery shopping by giant retailers like Tesco. The current level of market dominance enjoyed by the big four supermarkets is destroying local traders, farmers and communities. It is also bad news for workers, and ultimately means less choice for consumers.

Welcoming the forthcoming All Party Parliamentary Group report, a nef (the new economics foundation spokesperson, speaking for the Tescopoly Alliance said:

"The intransigence of government and the regulators have left Britain on the verge of becoming a one-supermarket state. We now need urgent action to implement the groups' recommendations so that we can begin to move back towards an open market place in which the small suppliers, farmers and stores who contribute so much to communities and economies across the UK can survive"

As well as calling for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to tackle supermarket dominance on the high street by referring the matter to the Competition Commission and for the appointment of an independent regulator to control supermarket behaviour, the Tescopoly Alliance wants an immediate moratorium on any further takeovers by any of the big stores. The Alliance also believes that planning regulations and policy also need tightening to protect independent shops, and wants to see tougher regulation to ensure all suppliers are treated fairly and measures to ensure supermarkets are held accountable for workers rights throughout their supply chains'.

Notes

The Tescopoly website is at www.tescopoly.org.

Local campaigns listed on the site will include: PINBAT, People in North Berwick Against Tesco, PCATS, Portabello Campaign Against the Superstore, Edinburgh, SCAMROD, The Sheringham Campaign Against Major Retail Over-development, HASSLE, Hereford Against Supermarkets Squashing our Local Economy, South Liverpool Anti Tesco League, Mather Avenue, Liverpool, RATS, Residents Against Tesco Supermarket, South Molton, Devon, Stop Unthank Tesco, Unthank Road, Norwich, CROSS, Campaign of Residents Opposing a Second Supermarket, Rye, Sussex, Tesco town campaign, Inverness, Save our Stewatry Shops and Tescodecontruct, Castle Douglas, TESCNO, Traders Enduring Supermarket's Continued New Openings, Colchester, ATAC, Gerrards Cross Anti Tesco Campaign, Gerrards Cross and CAASH, Campaign Against Another Supermarket in Hadleigh,

The Tescopoly Alliance was formed to highlight Tesco's impact on its supply chain both in the UK and internationally, its impact on small businesses, on communities and the environment.

Alliance members include: Friends of the Earth, the GMB Union, the Small and Family Farms Alliance, Banana Link, nef (the new economics foundation), Women Working Worldwide, the National Group on Homeworking and War on Want.

The group represents diverse constituencies embracing a range of issues from homeworker's rights to the death of our high streets.

The Tescopoly Alliance is calling for:
  1. A legally binding code of practice to ensure that all supermarket suppliers, throughout the supply chain at home and overseas, are treated fairly;
  2. An independent watchdog to ensure the grocery market is operating in the interests of consumers, farmer and small retailers;
  3. A block on any new take-overs by Tesco or other major supermarkets;
  4. Support for local shops from local authorities and Government;
  5. Measures to hold supermarkets accountable for internationally recognised workers' rights throughout their supply chains.
Why Tesco? Why Now?

Tesco now controls over 30 per cent of the grocery market in the UK. In 2005, the supermarket chain announced profits of over £2bn pounds, making the most successful UK retailer in history. Growing evidence indicates, however, that Tesco's phenomenal success is based on trading practices that are having serious consequences for suppliers, farmers, overseas workers, local shops and the environment. Whilst all the big UK supermarkets have been criticised for such practices, Tesco is repeatedly identified by farmers, suppliers, local councillors and local campaigners as the worse offender. Tesco is also technically breaking competition law with its 30 per cent share of the Grocery Retail market.

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

 

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust