NFRN delegates raised issues affecting independent retailers when they met the prime minister at this week’s Conservative Party conference in Manchester.

National president Linda Sood and vice president Mike Mitchelson spoke with Theresa May (pictured) about the pressures faced by their members.

“It’s been an experience. Business rates, retail crime, the National Living Wage, and increasing red tape was in the forefront of my mind,” said Mrs Sood.

The prime minister told them independent retailers are important to the economy and that the Conservative Party is the party to support them.

Meanwhile, NFRN delegates also raised the issue of extending the carrier bag charge to include small businesses with Therese Coffey, the shadow parliamentary under-Secretary for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

Mr Mitchelson said: “The government is very interested in working with us on carrier bags, whether it’s an extension to the legislation of though a voluntary code developed with other trade organisations.”

Also on the agenda was the controversial bottle deposit return scheme, which the NFRN has said it wishes to engage with government on.

“Mrs Coffey is very keen to work with us on developing a return scheme,” added Mr Mitchelson.