Sceptical about jobs

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THE headline of your report on the new Asda store was “Asda superstore will create 540 new jobs”.

But opening a new store will not create any new purchasing power in the district, unless the staff it recruits would otherwise have been unemployed; and the extra purchasing power will only be the difference between unemployment benefit and whatever Asda pays.

Most residents will have no more to spend than they would have had if the Asda had not been opened.

Asda’s sales will therefore come largely from the existing shops in the area.

If shops find they are selling less, they may well decide to employ less; some may even be forced to close.

The total increase in employment is likely to be a great deal less than 540. Businesses like to claim that new developments will create new jobs, especially if the development causes environmental damage – as will be caused by building a superstore outside the built up area.

But they always assume that the increase in employment in their business will be the same as the net increase in employment within the district, though the two concepts are very different. The difference will be especially large if the new business is a shop, which will take sales from other local shops. You could have headlined your article “New Asda threatens local stores”.

David Sawers

Seaview Avenue

East Preston