>> 17 December 2010


Commenting on the attacks by the Lib Dems on the SNP Government’s proposals to introduce a levy on supermarkets to redress the imbalance felt by many small retailers who have seen their customers pulled away, SNP Council Group Spokesman on Economic Development, Cllr. Rob Merson, highlighted how the Lib Dems took a totally different stance against supermarkets before the SNP proposed the levy.
Lib Dem attacks on supermarkets in the past included accusing them of “bully boy tactics” and having “overwhelming power”, saying farm businesses had “gone to the wall” because of supermarkets, and in one instance that local trade by independent shops would be “damaged by a new supermarket”.

Commenting Cllr. Merson said
 “This is another example of a party that has no principles and will opportunistically adopt any conflicting stance just to attack the SNP. As we have seen with VAT, early cuts and most recently tuition fees, the Liberal Democrats will make any promise for votes but then renege.
“I’m sure many jaws dropped when they heard the LibDems become the defenders of supermarkets after spending so many years attacking supermarkets at a local level.
“Now they have become the supermarket’s friends and now ignore what small businesses say. They also appear to miss the other point that it is the early cuts his party is now supporting that means new sources of revenue have to be acquired.
“In short their new stance is not only sheer hypocrisy, it is sheer opportunism.
“Small businesses are the lifeline of our economy across Scotland and the SNP will do what it can to protect them in these difficult times as well as give them the opportunity to grow.”
Examples of the Lib Dems attacking the power and influence of supermarkets:
1. Tavish Scott
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott today joined the Liberal Democrat Westminster and Holyrood spokespeople for Edinburgh North and Leith, Kevin Lang and Alex Cole-Hamilton to visit local traders in Stockbridge, Edinburgh.
“Local traders are understandably concerned about the impact that a new Sainsburys could have on their businesses, particularly during a recession. The shoppers I met were very proud of Stockbridge’s reputation for good quality independent shops.
“It would be a real loss to this community if local trade was damaged by a new supermarket that shoppers in the area don’t appear to want or need.”
-            21 April 2009
2. Jeremy Purvis
On his website Jeremy Purvis lists his 11 Priorities including: "More support for local retailers struggling against the big supermarkets"
3. George Lyon
“For too long farmers have had to bare the brunt of light touch regulation on the overwhelming power that major supermarkets enjoy."
George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland
28 October 2009
4. Alistair Carmichael
Commenting on today’s announcement from the government that they have accepted the Competition Commission’s (CC) recommendation to establish an independent body as a ‘supermarket ombudsman’, Orkney and Shetland MP said; “Today’s announcement is as welcome as it is overdue...I wonder how many farm businesses have gone to the wall in the time that the government have been thinking about this.”
13 January 2010
5. Jim Hum
Hume pushes Lord Mandelson for supermarket ombudsman
Jim Hume, Liberal Democrat MSP for the South of Scotland, has today written to Business Secretary, Lord Mandelson, urging him to instigate measures which will see the creation of an Ombudsman to oversee the workings of the food supply chain.
"Consumers want to know that producers are getting a fair share of the market and they are often tired of what many have described to me as “bully boy tactics” demonstrated by large retailers in negotiating contracts."
17 November 2009

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