This year’s NFRN National Council meeting will tackle the issue of increased carriage charges and encourage political engagement, as it returns to Leicester, the location of the federation’s first meeting in 1919. 

President Mike Mitchelson told RN he is looking forward to meeting national councillors and debating current challenges facing the sector at the event at the Mercure Grand Hotel on 4-5 September. 

“It’s important we have come to Leicester, which is the launch pad for our centenary year,” he said.

“One of the hot topics this year has been the increase in carriage charges. We will be letting members know where we are with our discussions with Smiths News. We’ve had more people than ever contact us to complain about how much pressure this increase is putting on their businesses and margins. Members will expect an opinion from us.

“We also hope to feed back on the meetings we have had with Racing Post and Citipost.”

Meanwhile, Mr Mitchelson will be prioritising political engagement throughout the two days. “Since Annual Conference in June, we have been focusing on political engagement,” he said. 

“We will be discussing how to come up with a plan to move our political agenda forward. 

“There is a whole range of issues that MPs and ministers can make decisions on that affect
our newsagents.” 

Payment services provider PayPoint will be the only presentation from outside the company at next week’s meeting.

“I hope National Council takes the opportunity to follow their presentation with a robust question
and answer format,” said Mr Mitchelson. 

“PayPoint has a business relationship with a lot of our members, and this gives them the chance to meet them personally.”

However, the federation will also be asking for feedback on how it can improve. “Our organisation has been running for 100 years, and we need to start looking at ourselves,” said Mr Mitchelson. 

“We have really got to look at our structure. We want to find out from members what they would like us to provide them and what sort of service they want to see.”

Mr Mitchelson is hopeful next week’s meeting will be a catalyst for future meetings. “I hope the information members obtain will be the start of more debates to come,” he said. 

“I want them to go back to their districts and bring feedback to the next council meeting with their districts and branches.”

Full coverage of NFRN National Council will appear in RN’s 14 September issue

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