SP proposals for preserving small shops supported by European Parliament

5 November 2013

SP proposals for preserving small shops supported by European Parliament

The Internal Market Committee today adopted the report by SP Euro-MP Dennis de Jong on the retail trade. The report will be voted on at the plenary on 10th December and is expected to be carried without further amendment. ‘It’s really important that the available range of shops remain diverse,’ says De Jong. ‘Not only chains, but also independent shops are important to the consumer. In my report I establish that Brussels should not be interfering with local authorities which, by means of diversification policy, want to give small shops a fair chance. They can also help shops via lower taxes, or rent subsidies. A lively shopping street is of enormous importance to a town or village, not only economically but for the social function of a centre.’

Dennis de Jong op MKB-dag 2012
Dennis de Jong during the first ‘SME Day’, a day dedicated to the interests of small businesses

Other concrete measures to aid the retail trade in getting through the crisis were also contained in De Jong’s report. 'An increase in VAT is the last thing small businesses need, and we want to draw a line through that,’ he says. ’In addition, we must prevent prestige projects such as shopping malls or big stores on greenfield sites being built when they merely increase the number of empty shops elsewhere and are far too dear for small shops.’

As well as measures to support local shops, the report also concerns the struggle against the unfair trade practices of, for instance, supermarkets and major food corporations. 'Farmers and small producers are under threat of becoming victims of the price war that has broken out between supermarkets in the Netherlands. I’m pleased that the sector is trying to do something about this through self-regulation, but without strict enforcement I’m afraid that this will not achieve satisfactory results. The European Commission must within a year evaluate the voluntary model and if necessary bring forward proposals for enforcement via an ombudsman or arbitration. For small producers, moreover, it’s important that the report recognises that they must be given the right to organise collectively, without the commission using competition rules to interfere.’

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