Independent retailers play a vital role in their communities but operate under increasing pressures, so every so often it is important to remind people of just how great a contribution they make.
That’s why the NFRN holds parliamentary receptions each year where our members have an opportunity to explain the issues of concern they face and what needs to be done to improve the lot of the local independent retailer.
These events are hugely important to us and this year’s reception in Westminster provided the perfect platform to launch our 2017 Independent Retail Report, which forms the backbone of our lobbying activity for the next year.
As our report also makes clear, action is required to end anti-competitive supplier contracts while the impact of the national living wage, overrunning road works and the ills of the news trade need to be addressed
The 30 Lords, ministers and MPs from all over the UK and across all political spectrums who joined us were left in no doubt that being a small retailer is not easy, with ever-increasing operating costs, yet more legislation and red tape and growing competition that comes not just from the multiples, but from those peddling illicit and counterfeit tobacco.
The MPs heard that retail crime is on the increase and police response times a matter of concern. Too many forces are slow in reacting to incidents and complacent if they do turn up. Because of that the NFRN wants the impact of retail crime on owners and shop staff to be higher up the political agenda.
Outdated business rates and the large hikes in bills that retailers in the south of the country are expecting from April were other pressures that we tabled at the event.
As our report also makes clear, action is required to end anti-competitive supplier contracts while the impact of the national living wage, overrunning road works and the ills of the news trade need to be addressed.
As I said at Westminster and will say again in the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Assembly, Stormont and the Dail, our current vibrant independent sector is under threat from all sides and the policies that the government sets can impact negatively or positively on our members.
Read the Independent Retail Report.