Tackling illicit trade and securing more protection for retailers against crime were two key focus areas for the Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance as it launched its 2017 manifesto.

Independent retailers were in Parliament last month to hear more about the TRA’s ‘Fair deal for small shops’ campaign.

“There’s so much legislation in the market, you wonder if small retailers are being targeted by the Government,” said Blackburn retailer and TRA national spokesperson Suleman Khonat.

As MPs we need to listen harder to retailers and have a grown-up debate

“We want the Government to listen to retailers in the independent sector, whose voice needs to be heard in Parliament. TRA members want to speak directly to MPs in order to help us address our mutual challenges together.

He added that illegal tobacco, retail crime and the burden of legislation on the small retailer are areas where progress can be made “if we take a consensual approach”.

Craig Mackinlay MP added: “As MPs we need to listen harder to retailers and have a grown-up debate.”

The Tobacco Retailers’ Alliance’s ‘Fair deal for small shops’ wants the Government to:

  • Review the current sentencing guidelines for individuals convicted of illicit trade offences;
  • Create a single ‘hotline’ to report awareness of illegal product sales;
  • Give shop workers the same legal protection as emergency workers;
  • Create a fund to help retailers in high-risk areas purchase crime prevention equipment;
  • Create a Retail Industry Parliamentary Scheme that mirrors the Armed Forces Parliamentary Scheme; and
  • Reverse damaging EU driven measures, such as the ban on small pack sizes for cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.