In his regular blog for Caerphilly Observer South Wales East AM Lindsay Whittle gives his take on recent news.
Caerphilly Observer readers will be well aware of my views on the planning committee’s decision to approve three shops on the site of the old Bowls Inn in my Penyrheol ward.
I opposed the development of yet another supermarket on this site because I believe it will further damage local businesses, many of them whom are already struggling.
I’ve got no problems as such with the Big Four supermarket chains, only that they appear to have taken over many of our high streets. I may be exaggerating a little but it seems that every corner you turn there is another supermarket, often Tesco.
The losers are the independent businesses which often have served their local community for decades or more. Profits they make stay in the area.
And there just doesn’t seem anything to stop the Big Four dominating further. I jokingly suggested that Caerphilly could soon be renamed supermarketville or Tescotown. But it did convey my frustration at the domination of these chains who send their profits to their corporate headquarters for distribution onto their shareholders.
The Bowls Inn decision also highlighted once again the difficulties many pubs are facing to survive. Not only is there the currently economic downturn with people having less to spend in their pockets and the smoking ban, but traditional pubs have been hit hard by the pricing policies on alcohol of the big supermarkets.
One aspect I’m pleased to see is the growth of independent breweries which have grown rapidly in recent years and offer an excellent alternative to beer from the big brewers. I hope they will continue to prosper.
I wanted to wish all residents a happy Christmas. It’s been a very tough year economically for families and individuals with worries over jobs and the hike in food, fuel and energy prices. I hope 2012 will be a better year than 2011 and we start to see a major turnaround in the economy.
It is particularly important that we make progress reducing the number of young people looking for work. I remember Margaret Thatcher’s legacy on our communities in the 1980s and I don’t want to see that repeated in the 21st Century.
Plaid Cymru South Wales East AM