OPINION: Make a strong case for independent retailers this Election season

The UK population is gearing up to head to the polls in what is shaping up to the one of the most unpredictable general elections in history.

Whichever party and parties form the next Government, they will face a similar agenda, and we can expect policy developments on issues such as business rates, the minimum wage and public health.

Firstly, after business rates reform plans were outlined in March, a new Government will have to finish the job of looking at the reform of a complex tax that brings in a reliable and growing stream of income to the public purse. 

There are likely to be winners and losers from this review, so we need to make the strongest case possible for a system that rewards convenience store retailers that invest.

The incoming Government will also have a public health agenda.  With plain packaging supported by both major parties, and the display ban implemented, the question is what other public health measures are next on the agenda.

This brings massive challenges to any retailer selling not just tobacco, but also alcohol, and even sugar and salt in whatever form.  That brings huge challenges for us as a trade association, but also for each of you as you interact with councils that could become extremely powerful.

The final key issue I would bring up is employment costs, particularly the national minimum wage. We don’t believe that wage rates should be a political point scoring tool. Governments should allow the independent Low Pay Commission to make measured recommendations on the minimum wage.

The campaign has been an excellent opportunity for retailers to engage with MPs and candidates. We’ve got some great videos on our YouTube channel of retailers who have done great engagement work, from inviting candidates to store openings to hosting a hustings event for all candidates to debate local issues.

Talk to us about arranging a store visit on 01252 515001 or email Julie.Byers@acs.org.uk.


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