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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 today formally lodged his Private Members Bill to the Scottish Parliament, marking the beginning of the 3-stage scrutiny process.

The Bill would create a separate offence and a statutory aggravation for the assault and impediment of a retail worker carrying out age-restricted sales. The Bill would be similar in scope and rationale to the Emergency Workers (Scotland) Bill that safeguards staff of the emergency services in their duties.

Currently, workers dealing with age-restricted sales are personally liable for upholding the law, but do not receive the same level of protection as other professions, such as Police officers, Border staff and tax collectors. The bill as drafted would also extend to non-retail staff such as delivery drivers and those working in hotels. After a lengthy consultation and with cross-party support, the Bill will now be scrutinised by one of the Committees of the Scottish Parliament before a final vote by MSPs. Launching the Bill today, Daniel Johnson MSP met with staff in an Edinburgh Scotmid store along with the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF).

Daniel Johnson MSP said:

“I am delighted to see my bill formally lodged in the Scottish Parliament today, it marks the start of the process of parliamentary scrutiny and the prospect of bringing legal protection for retail workers that the growing evidence of violence and abuse makes clear is needed.”

“Abuse and threatening behaviour should not be part of the job, and with the busy Christmas shopping season fast approaching it is now more important than ever that this is recognised.”

“I believe this bill will secure the rights of all those who feel threatened at their place of work and will make it clear that such behaviour will not and should not be tolerated. Everyone has a right to feel safe at work wherever they work.”

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank USDAW, the SGF and all those other trade Unions and organisations that have worked with me and look forward to speaking with Parliamentary colleagues as the bill makes its way through the necessary Parliamentary stages.”

Dr Pete Cheema OBE, SGF Chief Executive, said:

“On behalf of the 5,000 convenience stores in Scotland we want to thank Daniel for his unwavering determination to get this Bill to Parliament.”

“As we have said strongly and consistently: this represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create a safer environment for retailers, customers and communities. We will do everything we can to encourage MSPs to support the Bill. Whatever happens with the Bill we believe this marks a step-change in Scotland’s approach to retail crime”. 

Local MSP Kate Forbes Meets With The Cobbs Group

SGF members, the Cobbs Group, met with their local MSP Kate Forbes last Friday to discuss potential business development opportunities for this truly highland company whose portfolio includes a wholesale bakery, hotels, restaurants, coffee houses and gift shops. Ms Forbes was given a tour of the Cobbs wholesale bakery facility which is based in the Loch Ness-side village of Drumnadrochit followed by a visit to their Loch Ness Clansman Hotel.

SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE who was also in attendance said: “We are delighted that Kate Forbes MSP took the opportunity to meet with SGF members, the Cobbs Group, to discuss issues of importance to the company and to explore potential support available to their business to enable to them to grow, develop and expand. Cobbs are a key employer in the area and contribute more widely to their community as a whole.”

Managing Director, Cobbs Group, Fraser Campbell said: “At Cobbs we take pride in our distinctively highland roots and the contribution we make to the local economy. I would like to thank Kate Forbes MSP for taking the time to positively engage with us over potential support available to the Cobbs Group and to the Scottish Grocer’s Federation for helping make this meeting possible.

Kate Forbes MSP said: “I was delighted to visit Cobbs Group last week and discuss their plans for growth and expansion. It is an incredible organisation, firmly rooted in the Highlands.

“I am a big supporter of Highland businesses that stay local but export right across the country, like Cobbs. I wish them well in their future endeavours, and look forward to visiting again.”

The Cobbs Group are based in the town of Drumnadrochit, Inverness and joined the Scottish Grocer’s Federation earlier this year.

Food to Go is Here to Stay

The growing importance of food to go in convenience stores has been highlighted again with the success of the Scottish government-SGF food to go grant programme. 73 convenience stores from across Scotland – including stores from island and rural communities – have benefited from awards as part of the 2019 grant programme.  An additional £50,000 was made available this year by the Scottish government, bringing the total funding available to £300,000.  The 2019 programme featured additional criteria on food waste and packaging reduction.

Commenting on the success of the programme, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing MSP said,

The Food to Go fund has made a real difference to small retailers across Scotland, helping independent grocers to provide quality, locally-sourced and healthy food, as well as promoting the importance of reducing food waste. I am pleased that in the coming year, we will extend the fund to more independent retailers to support them to invest in equipment and activity, that will help them deliver more locally produced, healthy food and contribute to our climate change ambitions as well as widen their appeal to customers.”

SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE said,

This is a tremendous example of the effectiveness of working in partnership with the Scottish government. This funding has gone directly to retailers and enabled them to stay competitive, respond to changing customer demand and connect more effectively with local suppliersBy working with the government SGF has leveraged in over half a million pounds of investment in our sector.”

The 2018 programme was also extremely successful, with 69 stores benefitting from awards. The food to go market in the UK is now estimated to be worth more than £21 billion.

DRS – Exemptions Yes, Glass No

SGF has welcomed the news that the Scottish government draft Deposit Return Regulations allow for exemptions for smaller retailers. The Federation had been lobbying strongly for exemptions directly with the Scottish government. The exemptions will be based on an agreed set of criteria including proximity to other return points. However, SGF remains strongly and consistently opposed to the inclusion of glass within the scheme.

SGF head of public affairs John Lee said,

The small store exemptions are very welcome – they will provide welcome flexibility for smaller stores and our efforts on this have paid off. The inclusion of glass will be bad for the scheme overall and for convenience stores in particular. Glass is heavy, liable to break and takes up considerable space. It will also drastically reduce the number of stores which can use automated take back. The convenience sector needs a united front on saying no to glass.

The Scottish government is consulting on the draft regulations and a parliamentary scrutiny process will also get underway. The legislative process is intended to be complete by February 2020 with the scheme going live in April 2021. The regulations state that retailers in Scotland will not be permitted to sell products which are not registered as part of the scheme.

 

Latest News

  • 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
  • Local MSP Kate Forbes Meets With The Cobbs Group +

    SGF members, the Cobbs Group, met with their local MSP Kate Forbes last Friday to discuss potential business development opportunities Read More
  • Food to Go is Here to Stay +

    The growing importance of food to go in convenience stores has been highlighted again with the success of the Scottish Read More
  • DRS – Exemptions Yes, Glass No +

    SGF has welcomed the news that the Scottish government draft Deposit Return Regulations allow for exemptions for smaller retailers. The Read More
  • Tributes for Former SGF CEO +

    Tributes have been paid to former Scottish Grocers’ Federation chief executive John Drummond, who has passed away suddenly at his Read More
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