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

Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland

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SGF Launches Planning Gateway

Scottish Grocers Federation has taken a major step forward in enabling its retail members to easily access information on planning applications and local development plans.

The 'Planning Gateway' on the SGF website now provides members with a direct link to every local authority planning portal in Scotland. There are additional links to every local development plan. Each local development plan shows where retail development can be sited within each new enterprise, business and housing zone. SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said:

"Planning issues are vital in enabling our members to assess the level of competition on the ground and in making investment decisions locally. The Gateway provides full geographical coverage of Scotland and will be of major benefit to our members – we must take advantage of the opportunities offered through local development and planning across Scotland and make the process work for us."

The new Gateway is part of an ongoing project at SGF to provide members with an interactive platform for planning and development. The next phase of the project aims to provide data from every town and city in Scotland on demographics, retail density per head of population, socio-economic profile, digital connectivity and economic activity.

Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme (AWRS)

Wholesalers

From 1st April 2016, alcohol wholesalers had to begin a process of registration with HMRC. Details of the registration process can be found here.

Wholesalers must include their AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN) on all sales invoices and provide the URN on request to anyone purchasing alcohol. Wholesalers have until 1st April 2017 to change invoices.

Retailers

From 1 April 2017, retailers need to check that their alcohol wholesaler is registered with HMRC and has the AWRS Unique Reference Number (URN). If you buy alcohol from a non-registered wholesaler, you may be liable to a criminal or civil penalty, your alcohol may be seized, or you could lose your alcohol licence.

How to check if a wholesaler is registered?

Before April 2017

Before April 2017, ask your wholesaler(s) if they have applied for HMRC registration, but bear in mind that they may not have their registration number yet as they don’t need to use it until April 2017.

After April 2017

Step 1 – Use online look up service

You will be able to use an online look-up service to check if your wholesaler is registered. This will be available on HMRC’s website from 1 April 2017.

Step 2 – Check unique reference number

You will find the AWRS URN on wholesaler invoices from 1 April 2017. Retailers will be able to enter the AWRS URN of the wholesaler and the look up service will confirm whether that wholesaler is approved. The format for the URN will be made up of four alpha characters and 11 numeric characters, such as: XXAW 00000123456

Step 3 – Due diligence and record keeping

You must be able to demonstrate to HMRC that you requested a wholesaler’s URN and checked its authenticity. You can do this by printing off the webpage after checking your wholesaler’s URN. HMRC have not prescribed any additional record-keeping requirements for retailers who are not wholesalers.

New Presidential Team at SGF

SGF has taken a big step towards ensuring business continuity and effective succession planning as it moves towards its centenary year in 2018. The SGF National Executive has unanimously backed the appointment of Mike Leonard as the Federation’s new Vice-President. The nomination had been made by the incoming President Dennis Williams. Leonard has a wealth of experience, gained thriugh senior positions in both the retail and wholesale sectors of the industry and is currently controller of the highly successful Day Today convenience channel at United Wholesale Scotland.

Dennis Williams commented,

Mike has just the right character and experience that we need to complete the new Presidential team. There is no doubt in my mind that he is the right person for the job and the National Executive has recognised this with their unanimous support”.

Mike Leonard had this to say,

I am delighted to be taking on the role of Vice-President. SGF continues to be moving forward into exciting times and I am looking forward immensely to working with the new President Dennis Williams and the team at SGF”

 

Leonard will assume the role of President at the SGF annual conference in 2018.

The Impact of Responsible Retailing

The Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) has welcomed newly published statistics from a key Scottish government report which show that it is now much less common for school pupils to buy alcohol directly from local shops.

 The data is part of the Scottish Adolescent Lifestyle and Substance Use Survey (SALSUS) and shows that since 2002 the number of 15-year old pupils buying alcohol from a shop fell from 18% to 6%. However, the report also highlighted that the most common sources of alcohol are now from the home, relatives and friends. SGF head of public affairs Dr John Lee commented,

“This marked decline in purchases from shops is very encouraging and clearly shows that retailers have been extremely successful in implementing Challenge 25. It also clearly shows how seriously our members take responsible community retailing and their compliance obligations. Our focus now has to be on supporting retailers and our communities in dealing with more complex issues such as proxy purchase.”

As part of the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership SGF has recently been involved in highly successful proxy purchase campaigns in Edinburgh and North Lanarkshire.

 

SALSUS is a biennial survey, complied on behalf of the Scottish government, and is based on responses from 25,304 pupils across 264 secondary schools in both the state and independent sector.

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