Promoting Responsible Community Retailing by Lobbying, Communication, Networking and Advice.

Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland

Latest News

Financial Support for Businesses

As you know the Scottish government announced a package of support measures for business last week - no retailers will pay business rates for 2020/21. We are still awaiting further details on the 2 grant schemes (£10,000/£25,000) which were also announced. We will provide you with an update as soon as we have it.

Against the advice of SGF and other trade bodies, the government has allowed the 32 Local Authorities to decide on which jobs get the ‘key worker’ designation. Again we will provide clarity on this as soon as we have it.

The UK government has issued updated guidance for businesses. Within the main guidance the specific topics relevant to retailers in Scotland are:

  1. Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 
  2. Support for businesses through deferring VAT and Income Tax payments
  3. Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees
  4. Support for businesses through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
  5. Support for businesses paying tax: Time to Pay service
  6. Insurance

 The full guidance can be accessed here. We will issue more detailed guidance for members on topics such as the Job Retention scheme as soon as we can. In the meantime please just let us know if you have any questions.

Crime and Local Shops

Convenience stores in Scotland continue to bear the brunt of retail crime. That is the clear message from the Scottish Grocers Federation as it launched its Retail Crime Report 2020. The report – based on a survey of five hundred stores -  is launched today (6th February) at the Federation’s annual retail crime conference. One hundred per cent of respondents had experienced shoplifting in the previous twelve months, with a massive ninety eight per cent experiencing shoplifting on a daily basis! This is entirely consistent with findings from previous SGF reports and shows that shoplifting is now essentially a pandemic which neither Police Scotland nor the judicial system are dealing with anywhere near adequately.

The crime report also shows that requests for identification in relation to age restricted products and a refusal of sale continue to be the man triggers for abuse and assault towards staff in-store. This comes at a time when the Scottish Parliament is considering new legislation which aims to give shop workers additional legal protection, particularly in relation to carrying out mandatory activities around age verification.

SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE said,

“our new report  - which is now backed up by five years’ worth of evidence – shows that shoplifting is now essentially out of control and the authorities have simply lost their grip on it. Overall this is contributing to a very stressful working environment for staff. There is an ever-growing list of legislation which has to be enforced and policed by staff in-store and this must be taking its toll on health and wellbeing. The Protection of Workers Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament is a step in the right direction and we urge MSPs to support it.“

Cheema also pointed out that neither the Scottish government nor Police Scotland collect any data on retail crime, something he described as a “shocking and unacceptable situation” which has undoubtedly contributed to a lack of effective action on this major problem.

The Scottish Parliament Economy Committee is currently taking evidence on the Protection of Workers Bill. SGF has been invited to appear before the Committee and give evidence directly on the 3rd March. The Scottish government is currently consulting on proposals for the mandatory age restriction of energy drinks.

Open Letter to MSPs on Uniform Business Rate

COMMERCE UNITES TO SAVE THE UNIFORM BUSINESS RATE

Twenty-six of the country’s leading business representative groups and sectoral trade associations have written a joint letter to MSPs, urging them to vote to retain the Uniform Business Rate. 

The 26 organisations represent a wide cross section of Scottish industry including manufacturing, retail, property, tourism, hospitality and leisure. 

The collective call comes ahead of the final Stage 3 vote on the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, expected over the next few weeks. The text of the letter is as follows:

 

 

Dear MSP,

Retain the Uniform Business Rate

We are writing to you ahead of Stage 3 of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill to voice our alarm and shared concern over recently adopted amendments which seek to scrap the Uniform Business Rate and instead hand control over this £2.8 billion tax to each of the 32 local authorities to set their own poundage rate, rates reliefs, and any supplements or surcharges.

Our ambition is for a competitive rates system and one that better reflects economic and trading conditions. It is why we have supported the thrust of the Bill.

However, we are profoundly concerned with the abolition of the Uniform Business Rate and Scotland-wide rates reliefs, and the consistency and predictability they bring. 

We fear this could lead to higher business rates bills, at a time when the poundage rate is already at a 20-year high and with a further increase pencilled in for this Spring, and when businesses want to invest and grow the Scottish economy.

We therefore urge you and fellow MSPs to overturn these amendments, which simply introduce fresh complexity, cost and unpredictability into the rates system, and which are at odds with the rates reform agenda of ensuring competitiveness and minimising complexity.

We want Scotland to be a great place to do business. Retaining the Uniform Business Rate would be a positive step in the right direction.

Your sincerely,

 

Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association of the UK & Ireland

Andrew Goodacre, Chief Executive, The British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA)

Tracy Black, Director, CBI Scotland

Grahame Barn, Chief Executive, Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland (CECA)

Malcolm Harrison, Chief Executive, Company Chemists’ Association

Andrew McRae, Scotland Policy Chair, Federation of Small Businesses

David Thomson, Chief Executive, Food & Drink Federation Scotland

Ian Cass, Managing Director, Forum of Private Business

James Barnes, Chairman, The Horticultural Trades Association

Hilary Halls, Chief Executive, National Hair & Beauty Federation

Edward Cooke, Chief Executive, Revo

Sara Thiam, Chief Executive, SCDI

Emma McClarkin, Chief Executive, Scottish Beer & Pub Association

Karen Betts, Chief Executive, Scotch Whisky Association

Alasdair Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Bakers

Name tbc, title tbc, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Paul Sheerin, Chief Executive, Scottish Engineering

Pete Cheema, Chief Executive, Scottish Grocers Federation

Colin Wilkinson, Managing Director, Scottish Licensed Trade Association

David Melhuish, Director, Scottish Property Federation

David Lonsdale, Director, Scottish Retail Consortium

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive, Scottish Tourism Alliance

Colin Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Wholesale Association

Miles Beale, Chief Executive, The Wine & Spirit Trade Association (WSTA)

Phil Clapp, Chief Executive, UK Cinema Association

Willie Macleod, Executive Director, UKHospitality

Youngest Ever President for SGF

NEW SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT

Scottish Grocers Federation has announced two major developments in its long-term succession planning.

Nisa retailer Dan Brown has been appointed to the role of SGF Senior Vice-President. This means that Brown – widely seen as a rising star of the sector in Scotland – will assume the Presidency when the current President Asim Sarwar steps down in October 2020. Brown, already a key member of the SGF National Executive, will become the Federation’s youngest ever President. Dan Brown commented,

'I am truly honoured to be taking on the role of Senior Vice-President and I am very much looking forward to working with Asim and the SGF team. The SGF has gone from strength to strength over the last few years and as we enter 2020 we bring with us a truly diverse wealth of experience and a political voice that has tremendous potential to influence the direction of our industry.”

SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE said,

I am delighted that the National Executive has approved this move. This will ensure a smooth transition between two of the key roles within the federation. Dan’s fresh thinking, motivation and enthusiasm will undoubtedly have a big impact and will be a major asset as we move into 2020 and beyond.”

At the same time, SGF has announced that Keystore Retail Director Craig Brown will become the Federation’s Vice-President. This means that Brown will ultimately succeed to the Presidency when Dan Brown’s 2-year term ends in 2022.

Latest News

  • Financial Support for Businesses +

    As you know the Scottish government announced a package of support measures for business last week - no retailers will pay Read More
  • Crime and Local Shops +

    Convenience stores in Scotland continue to bear the brunt of retail crime. That is the clear message from the Scottish Read More
  • Open Letter to MSPs on Uniform Business Rate +

    COMMERCE UNITES TO SAVE THE UNIFORM BUSINESS RATE Twenty-six of the country’s leading business representative groups and sectoral trade associations Read More
  • Youngest Ever President for SGF +

    NEW SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT Scottish Grocers Federation has announced two major developments in its long-term succession planning. Nisa retailer Dan Read More
  • Parliament to Look at Retail Crime Legislation +

    Scottish Grocers Federation has welcomed a “once-in-a-generation opportunity” to create a safer working environment for retailers. Daniel Johnson MSP has Read More
  • 1

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