Don’t take press release as gospel truth

Once again we hear that supermarket expansion will create new jobs (‘ASDA unveils its plans for a new superstore’09/02/12), without any qualification whatsoever.

Since the Todmorden News will almost certainly have got these figures from ASDA or their representatives, wouldn’t it be proper to have some independent estimate of the number of jobs lost elsewhere in the area because of this expansion?

Your readers might be interested to know that respected author George Monbiot once had some research conducted on this subject, and found that if the jobs promised on large enterprises in 2005/6 were extended to the whole national economy, there would be 218 million workers in the country (see www.monbiot.com/archives/2008/04/01/snow-jobs/).

The problem is twofold.

Firstly that, as even the big retailers admit, their expansion has a negative effect on other retail employment up to 15 km away.

Secondly, that if hard-pressed local newspapers, short on funds and staff, tend to swallow these press release figures whole, what else are they swallowing without asking important questions?

Roger Moorhouse

Shade St

Todmorden