- Published on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 15:50
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- Published on Wednesday, 24 July 2013 14:56
Local Shops Call For Tighter Restrictions on Out of Town Development in Scotland
The Scottish Grocers Federation and ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) have called for tighter restrictions on out of town supermarkets that prevent investment in high streets and neighbourhood centres in Scotland.
SGF Chief Executive John Drummond said: “We welcome the commitment made in the new planning policy to the ‘town centre first’ approach to retail development, this is vital to promoting vibrant, diverse retail provision in cities, towns and villages throughout Scotland. However the policy must be watertight, or else it will be exploited by powerful developers that can override the intentions of policy and the will of local people.
“For example, the principle that developments that create jobs should be viewed positively must not be a green light for exaggerated claims made by some supermarket developers in planning applications to override concerns about harmful impacts on existing retailers in town and neighbourhood centres.
ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “It is vital that retailers are able to rely on the planning system to be fair, transparent and consistent throughout the United Kingdom. This is the only way we can generate the confidence that will allow businesses to make the right investments that will promote growth and create jobs.”
- Published on Friday, 12 July 2013 12:05
Outbreak of Common Sense As UK Government Puts Plain Packaging On Hold
The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed today’s news that the UK government is to postpone its plans to introduce standardised plain packaging for cigarettes. Ministers are expected to tell MPs that a decision on the policy has been formally delayed so that more time can be spent examining how similar plans have worked in Australia.
The announcement comes just days after a key European Parliament Committee voted against adopting plain packaging across the EU. Taken together these decisions could represent a significant blow to the Scottish Government’s plans to introduce similar measures north of the border.
Chief Executive John Drummond said,
“The UK government has now shown the same common sense approach as the European Parliament’s Environment Committee There is now a clear momentum at UK and European level to abandon this ineffective policy. We can now begin to tackle the real issues such as the illicit trade, which costs responsible retailers up to £30,000 in lost sales each year.”
Drummond also hit back at those campaigning groups which have criticised the UK government’s announcement, adding that,
“There is simply no robust evidence to show that packaging encourages young people to start smoking: peer pressure and what happens in the home are the most important factors. We need an informed and intelligent debate and the consistently misleading statements on plain packaging by anti-smoking groups prevent this from happening and only help to confuse the issue”.
SGF also pointed out that smoking in Scotland is essentially an issue about health inequality – people in our more deprived communities are much more likely to smoke – and blanket measures such as plain packaging totally fail to address this key issue.
- Published on Thursday, 11 July 2013 11:05
The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has welcomed today’s news that a key Committee of the European Parliament has rejected proposals to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products throughout the European Union. SGF hopes the decision will influence the Scottish Government to scrap similar plans.
The Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety (ENVI) voted against adopting plain packaging as part of a range of proposals to revise the European Tobacco Products Directive.
Chief Executive John Drummond said,
“The Committee has taken a very common sense approach in dropping these measures from the proposed revision of the Tobacco Products Directive. We know that Scottish Government is in favour of introducing plain packaging but we hope that this decision – and the decision by the UK Government to drop the same measures from the recent Queen’s speech - will now encourage them to take an equally sensible approach and abandon any plans for plain packaging.”
SGF has argued consistently that packaging does not influence young people to begin smoking and that such a measure could simply make it easier for criminals to counterfeit and sell illicit tobacco products. It has been estimated that responsible retailers could be losing up to £30,000 in income per year to the illicit trade.
However, the ENVI Committee has backed proposals to ban menthol cigarettes and place restriction so other flavourings. SGF has expressed strong concern that this will simply create a ready-made market for illicit tobacco products. HMRC estimates that in 2010-2011almost £2bn was lost to the UK Treasury due to tobacco smuggling and that 1.7 billion illegal cigarettes were seized in 2011-2012.
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