I have seen rental data for a major centre showing that the major traffic pulling independents like newsagents and pharmacies are paying eight to ten times the rent of a supermarket. While landlords will have all manner of reasons for this, the extent of the difference seems to me to be indefensible. Landlords would not have some national chains if small businesses were not encouraged to develop their model and grow into national operations.

Communities need small businesses – they provide better learning opportunities for people entering the workforce, they are more flexible in terms of hours and they are more likely to pass on local traditions. Landlords have a social obligation to foster small businesses and to provide fair rent.

It is unreasonable for independent retailers to subsidise the supermarkets.