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SGF Criticises Chancellor's Decision on Living Wage

SGF has criticised the announcement by the Chancellor during yesterday’s Budget speech, that he will introduce a new compulsory National Living Wage, which will reach £9 per hour by 2020.  All workers aged 25 and above will be paid the National Living Wage, which will be levied by introducing a new premium on top of the current National Minimum Wage.  From April 2016 the new National Living Wage will be set at £7.20 per hour.

With over 5,500 stores in Scotland, the industry contributes around £3.2b to the nation’s economy and employs 41,000 in the sector.  This will place a huge tremendous burden on these retailers and may lead to a number of stores closing.

Addressing the chart below, SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema said, “This clearly shows that what the Chancellor has actually done is shift the burden of payment from the Government to the Employer.  The introduction of the National Living Wage is a reckless policy, which could have a disastrous effect on the retail industry, especially in times of austerity.”

 

Living Wage Graph

SGF condemns withdrawal of the sale of Premium Bonds.

 

SGF condemns withdrawal of the sale of Premium Bonds.

  The Scottish Grocers’ Federation has moved quickly to respond to the decision by the National Savings & Investments Agency for withdrawing Premium Bonds from sale in Post Offices after 31st July 2015.  They have issued a statement strongly condemning the decision.

 This comes at a crucial period for the Post Office as they are midway through their Network Transformation Programme. One would have thought that they would have been encouraging commission based schemes and not taking them away.

 ‘The move to withdraw the sale of Premium Bonds from 1st August 2015 is another nail in the coffin for Sub-Postmasters. One in five of the sales of Premium Bonds for last year came from over the counter. This is another huge setback for the Sub-Postmasters as another revenue stream is lost.’

Pete Cheema, SGF CEO.

 

 

 

SGF HELPS TO LAUNCH STOP PROXY PURCHASE CAMPAIGN

The Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership (SGAIP), the North Lanarkshire Community Safety Partnership and Police Scotland, working closely with local retailers, have launched (29th June) a campaign in the area to raise awareness of the fact that buying alcohol for anyone under the age of 18 is a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £5,000 or up to three months in prison, or both.

 John Lee, Head of Public Affairs at SGF and Chair of the SGAIP Campaigns Group, said:

 “The success of initiatives such as Challenge 25 have helped reduce the number of direct sales of alcohol to under 18s, but young people are increasingly accessing alcohol by other means. Asking an adult to buy alcohol for them is one of the most common tactics used. This campaign will raise awareness of the serious consequences of buying alcohol for anyone under the age of 18 to help reduce underage drinking in the local area.”

 The Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 makes it an offence for a person to “act as an agent for a child in purchasing or attempting to purchase alcohol

 Superintendent John McTear at Police Scotland said:

“Underage drinking contributes to antisocial behaviour, crime and violence in our local communities. During the lighter evenings and school holidays we expect to see more young people congregating. Most are perfectly well behaved, however some may consume alcohol after purchasing it themselves or arranging for someone else to do so and then engage in disorder. Local police will continue patrols and targeted operations where we know this to take place, to reduce attempted purchases of alcohol for under 18s.”

 The campaign is being launched in North Lanarkshire and will run until the end of summer. Learnings and successes from this trial will shape future campaigns across Scotland.

 

 

 

SGF Call For Simpler Licensing Law in Scotland

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation and the Association of Convenience have submitted a joint response to the Scottish Parliament Health Committee’s call for evidence on the new Alcohol and Public Health Bill.

 The response opposes the provisions contained in the Bill to impose further restrictions on the advertising and promotion of alcohol and to encourage Licensing Boards to make greater use of bottle marking schemes.

 If passed the Bill would become the 6th primary piece of alcohol legislation to have been enacted by the Scottish Parliament since 2009. Additionally there have been 35 secondary pieces of legislation put into effect – taken together this means it is now extremely difficult for retailers to fully understand and comply with licensing law in Scotland.

 SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said,

“We need licensing law to be simplified not made more complex. Initiatives such as bottle marking schemes provide no evidence of wrongdoing by retailers and are of no use in trying to deal with the problem of proxy purchase. It is not possible to manually and individually mark all alcohol products in store and make the marks distinctive from store to store The Scottish Parliament needs to get it right on licensing law – the burden of compliance always fall on retailers.”

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