Support local shops not ‘big boys’ from outside

EDITOR – Your front page of February 15 reports that (some) Louth people would like to see ASDA, KFC and McDonalds in Louth. It really is time that we all started looking beyond the ends of our noses on questions like this.

Large national and international organisations bring little, if anything, to towns like ours, except their own muscle. When they set up in towns like Louth, these organisations bring their own construction organisations; their own tradesmen and shopfitters; and their own materials. All of these usually come from out of town.

Once they are established, they then continue to bring in their own routine supplies, and they use their own head offices to provide all of their operational support.

We need to ask ourselves some quite basic questions, such as: who will act as solicitors for these companies? Who will paint their shopfronts? Who will sell them cars, and service their cars? Who will do their accounts? The answer is rarely anyone in Louth.

The point is that our many genuine local businesses use other local businesses. They use our own builders and builders merchants, painters, accountants, solicitors, car dealers, and garages.

They buy in their supplies from our own local farmers and growers. And local food outlets buy in their raw materials from our butchers, bakers, fishmongers and greengrocers.

All of the businesses they support then go on themselves to use other local businesses and services. It is this self-support that makes the town function. It’s also what provides jobs for all of us - however far away from retail or food outlets we may think we work.

If you’ve done work for a local business, or supplied a local business, or have friends or family who have, you’re normal. If you’ve done work for one of the national retailers, or supplied raw materials to one of the national food outlets in town, you’re a rare bird indeed.

All of the organisations referred to on your front page happen to be American, so all of their profits will end up in the US, but even major British national organisations are going to take money away from us unless we come to see this bigger picture.

Using local businesses genuinely creates or sustains local jobs. The majors DON’T create jobs. They certainly employ people in their businesses, but at least as many existing, established jobs are lost as a direct result, and, unfortunately the new jobs are often less skilled.

My major concern is that we never think about the consequential loss of jobs - the painters, the builders, the accountants, the car mechanics, the greengrocers, the butchers, the pub cooks and so on. We must recognise that all of our own lives depend on maintaining strong local businesses.

Our existing local businesses need East Lindsey’s support, not the ‘big boys’ from outside.

BOB MORTIMER Westgate, Louth