Readers' letters: Supermarkets offer more of the same

On completion of my National Service I had no wish to return to my mundane clerical job in the SMT offices and found a place in a fruit importers based in Leith docks.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 5th August 2022, 7:00 am

Six companies combined their resources to bring two vessels from Holland every week laden with produce.

Boat days were frenetic as everyone wanted their produce to be first into the markets. No supermarkets in those days, but a huge number of independent greengrocers with shops all over the city and their owners crowding into the wholesale markets in the middle of Edinburgh and Glasgow, plus whole-salers from all over Scotland.

It was a fantastic job with never a dull moment, until Asda opened a supermarket in Edinburgh and everything changed. This was the beginning of the end and retailers who had served their communities for years were forced to close.

Edinburgh’s Market Street wholesalers were despatched to the out-skirts and their once vibrant businesses gradually disappeared as supermarkets won the battle for the housewife’s purse.

This brings me to the independence and border controls. Most of the majors rely on deliveries from depots in England. How long would they tolerate empty shelves because of potential border controls?

I was forced to move south in search of employment but the entire fresh produce industry gradually disappeared under the weight of supermarkets and I am horrified at the mundanity of what I see on their shelves.

I was born in Buchanan Street in Leith where the Co-op was the main provider. However, close by were two corner shops and nearby Leith Walk had a variety of retail businesses.

A very busy butcher was on the corner of Iona Street with a nearby home baker and a grocer opposite. Those days are long gone and we are left with nothing but supermarkets and a world of sameness.

George Wilkie, Huntingdonshire.

Health treatment queues lengthening

My mother has been on a waiting list since December last year for a cataract assessment. She got a letter yesterday asking her to call re an appointment.

Living in the NHS Lothian region, she was told that she could either wait at least 18 months to go to the eye clinic there or get an earlier appointment at the Golden Jubilee Hospital, west of Glasgow.

She is fortunate that I can take her to appointments such as this but what about all those older people needing cataract operations where they have no-one who can drive them over to the other side of the country?

Back in 2016, the SNP promised us five new elective and diagnostic treatment centres which were due to be completed by last year. Covid may well have played its part but not for the first four years.

To alleviate the growing waiting lists, the Scottish government announced a NHS recovery plan last August which included 10 national treatment centres.

It would be understandable for one or two of the planned NTCs to be behind schedule but it is at least five of them that will now not open by the completion date of 2026.

The priority for all governments should be saving lives and doing all it can to build these centres quickly, and get the staff trained up to serve in them.

Jane Lax, Aberlour.

Animal crackers

Events of the last couple of years and the Tory leadership contest suggest that we live in a pseudo democracy. It's like going to Africa and choosing whether to be eaten by a lion, a hyena or a crocodile.

Geoff Moore, Alness, Highland.

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