The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has hailed a major breakthrough in its political engagement work. Holyrood has given its backing to a proposal from SGF and MSP Gordon MacDonald to establish a Scottish Parliament Cross Party Group (CPG) on Independent Convenience Stores.
For the past 12 months SGF has been working closely with Mr MacDonald - the SNP MSP for the Edinburgh Pentlands constituency – to get the Group up and running. In a major step forward, the CPG held its inaugural meeting last in Parliament in September. The meeting itself was extremely successful both in terms of SGF stakeholders who attended and in terms of support from MSPs. Support from at least three MSPs is required for CPGs to be approved but in fact eleven MSPs registered to become members of the Group: a genuinely impressive level of commitment from MSPs
Despite this the Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament required that the CPG had to be officially approved by Parliament itself. However, recognising the success of the inaugural meeting, The Scottish Parliament Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee has now fully endorsed and approved the establishment of the Cross Party Group on Independent Convenience Stores. Gordon MacDonald MSP was appointed Convenor with John Lee, Head of Public Affairs at SGF being appointed to the Group Secretariat.
Gordon MacDonald MSP commented,
“Convenience stores are the corner stones of our communities. Scotland has more convenience stores per had of population than any other part of the UK and these stores provide over 41,000 jobs – it’s time this important sector in the Scottish economy got the recognition it deserves.”
This is the first time a retail-focused group has been set up within the Scottish Parliament, it will provide a unique platform for MSPs to engage with retailers and stakeholders from across the supply chain on the key issues affecting the retail industry in Scotland. The CPG will now push forward with its next meeting, to be held in the Scottish Parliament on 23rd November.