As we enter the height of election season, the day-to-day business of Government is put on pause, but this doesn’t mean our work as a lobby group is less important. 

If anything, it’s one of the most important times in the political cycle as we monitor and seek to influence parties’ policies on the issues that matter to us and to you. 

The key policy announcements we’re looking out for are on business rates, employment policy, tackling waste and litter, and crime prevention.

Now is the time to get your local candidates in store to ask them about what they plan to do to support your business

We have campaigned along with other business organisations for several months to get a full review of the business rates system, and while there have been some meaningful concessions, the system still needs a top-to-bottom overhaul to level the playing field between internet and brick-and-mortar businesses.

We believe councils need more funding to maximise the effectiveness of kerbside recycling schemes, and that the next Government should include small shops in England in the 5p carrier bag charge. These policies, not a burdensome deposit return scheme, are the right ways to tackle litter and waste without damaging small shops.

We are clear that wage rates should not be used as a political football and we will continue to campaign to ensure the Low Pay Commission retains independence and isn’t given arbitrary targets to meet.

Finally, shop theft cost the convenience sector more than £120m last year. Police forces must take shop theft seriously, and the Government should put measures in place to ensure that the penalties for thieves, especially repeat offenders, are an effective deterrent.

Now is the time to get your local candidates in store to ask them about what they plan to do to support your business if elected. You can find out how to arrange a store visit by emailing steve.dowling@acs.org.uk.