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SGF Responds to UK Government Post Office Banking Consultation

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) has responded to the UK Government’s consultation on Post Office Banking. The consultation seeks views on whether the Post Office should expand the range of banking services it offers.

John Drummond, Chief Executive of SGF said:

“For many SGF members the Post Office provides an important part of their business and is also important for the wellbeing of communities across Scotland.

“Services which secure the long term viability of Post Offices must be embraced. Following the banking crisis there is an appetite amongst the public for the Post Office to provide additional banking services. It is important this potential is developed into a range of competitive yet viable products.”

Small Shops Support Continued Use of Voluntary Initiatives to Tackle Obesity

The Scottish Government has launched a new strategy to tackle obesity. Measures proposed in the strategy include working with retailers, producers and the food industry to control exposure to, demand for and consumption of high calorie foods and drinks to tackle obesity in Scotland.

John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) said,

“Since 2004, convenience store retailers in Scotland have worked in partnership with the Scottish Government to tackle obesity in Scotland, via the SGF Healthy Living Programme. Convenience stores trade at the heart of communities throughout the country and ensuring there is a strong selection of healthy, fresh produce on offer is an important step in tackling obesity.

“The use of a voluntary approach has helped persuade retailers to engage in the Programme and led to substantial inward investment and innovation in the fresh produce and healthy foods categories by retailers.

“For any retailer the key stakeholder is the customer. For a retailer to operate a profitable business they must know, understand and deliver what the customer wants. It is the customer who decides what they want to eat which must be considered when planning solutions to address obesity.

“To address the problems associated with obesity there needs to be a complete change of culture. Small shops acknowledge they can help to channel a change in behaviour and will continue to work with the Scottish Government to achieve this. However, there needs to be improved education to encourage people to live health lifestyles, increased awareness raising about the health risks associated with obesity and more opportunity for children and adults to take part in regular exercise.”

Small Shop Representative Gives Evidence to Finance Committee on Alcohol Bill

John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), has warned MSPs of the risk to small shops if measures included in the Alcohol etc (Scotland) Bill, to restrict promotions proceed without a price mechanism to control below cost selling.

Providing oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Finance Committee on the Financial Memorandum to the Alcohol etc. (Scotland) Bill, John Drummond said,

“We would have great concerns if the promotional programme that is available to retailers relates only to price. In the absence of a price mechanism that will control the floor price, we could see some very deep discounting, particularly by those that can afford to do it—the supermarkets, with deeper pockets and greater bargaining power than small shops. Small shops would suffer, because they would not be able to run the kind of promotions that remove price as the key element of such activity.”

During the meeting John referred to some of the unintended consequences of minimum pricing which could affect the small store sector in Scotland including cross border trading, an increase in the illicit trade and an increase in internet trading with alcohol being dispatched from south of the Border to evade a minimum pricing policy.

Commenting after the meeting John said, “It is important if any further alcohol legislation is introduced, that it is proportionate and MSPs understand the consequences their decisions could have on small shops across Scotland. If bulk buy promotions are introduced there must be a pricing mechanism to restrict below cost selling. Otherwise MSPs will be playing into the hands of the supermarkets to the detriment of small shops.”

Business Rates Relief Welcomed by Small Shops

Commenting on the changes to business rates announced by the Finance Secretary, John Swinney, within the Local Government Finance (Scotland) Order 2010, John Drummond, Chief Executive of the Scottish Grocers Federation (SGF) said:

“We welcome these measures which help to continue to develop a fairer rates system in which small shops do not lose out to the supermarkets.

“Increasing the thresholds for the Small Business Bonus Scheme will be welcomed by many small shops, providing them with additional resources to plough back into their businesses during these challenging economic times.”

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