MP calls for answers over closure of centre

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AN MP is calling for Tesco to pay back any public money it received to set up a distribution centre near Chesterfield – after it announced plans to close the plant.

Dennis Skinner, Labour MP for Bolsover, said it was ‘scandalous’ the firm is planning to close its distribution centre at Barlborough and offer to move jobs to Reading.

He said if Tesco received any European or development money to set up its centre in Bolsover, it should now be forced to repay the cash.

In a question to Commons Leader Andrew Lansley, Mr Skinner said: “Will you arrange for a statement to be made regarding the scandalous treatment by Tesco of more than 400 workers in a high unemployment area in Bolsover, transferring those workers 170 miles down south, a complete contradiction of regional policy of sending jobs up to the north?

“They have only been there a few years and will you make sure all the assistance Tesco got in order to set up their distribution factory, all the money it received from development agencies, European money, central government, local government assistance, is paid back.

“Do you agree with me that this scandalous treatment shows Tesco stinks more than the horse meat it has been selling?”

Mr Lansley replied: “The commercial decisions of Tesco are of course not a matter for me. I do have to tell you that they are commercial matters for those companies concerned.”

A Tesco spokesman said: “We took on the lease for the Barlborough site from a developer when it was almost complete, and we received absolutely no financial incentive or public money to move there.”