Mike Holling, president, National Association of Master Bakers

Recently I had the privilege of attending the National Association of Master Bakers’ (NA) Northern Region annual dinner in Newcastle. It was a grand event and an opportunity to listen to members’ views on several issues.

Apart from the serious concerns over the spiralling costs of key ingredients, the future of the high street and dominance of the major supermarkets are issues that seem to be raised on a continual basis.

In the media, the fallout from the Competition Commission’s latest report is evident; the Commission seems to believe that the big four need a larger presence on the high street to create fair competition.

But what about the pressure this will put on existing independent businesses - not only bakers, but butchers and other specialist traders? A prime example is the recent demise of small Post Offices.

We all need to see a successful thriving high street or town centre, which serves the community. While the Commission may have addressed the issue of competition between the supermarkets, it hasn’t examined how their growth is affecting other high street outlets.

At the NA, we will continue to lobby strongly on behalf of our members and hope the Commission’s next update will take our concerns into consideration.