Support our small local shopkeepers

What I have described as the ‘bombshell’ announcement by Tesco that it is to close its Bedlington store in two months time, has wider implications for smaller town centres across the country than simply one losing one of its anchor traders.

Shopping habits are changing dramatically with virtually all the big supermarket chains reporting falls in profits which, in turn, impacts on investment plans.

Thriving high streets were one of the cornerstones on which our communities were built long before the days of out-of-town retail parks and hypermarkets.

But today they are all facing huge challenges, not least is the growth of online shopping often coupled with free home deliveries services.

Recently, I was happy to help promote a competition to find the best local retailers across the country and it reminded me that we have some excellent small shopkeepers trading in our Wansbeck constituency.

What they do is not only provide a valued local service but add to the diversity and character of our high streets.

But they need our support if they are to survive – support we should all consider giving more often.