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Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland

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MSPs Congratulate SGF

The Scottish Parliament has endorsed a motion congratulating SGF on the publication of the first-ever Scottish Local Shop Report. The motion was tabled by Gordon MacDonald MSP of the Edinburgh Pentland constituency and has gathered considerable cross-party support, this could result in a members' debate in the chamber.  The report has been developed as part of SGF's ongoing partnership with ACS. MSPs will receive a copy of the report at an event in the Scottish Parliament in January 2016. 

STARK PICTURE OF IMPACT OF THE LIVING WAGE

Scottish Grocers’ Federation has just completed preliminary analysis of a short members’ survey on the likely impact of the living wage on independent convenience store retailers.

The results, from a snapshot of independent retailers across Scotland,  reveal a stark picture of the potentially disastrous impact of the proposed living wage on jobs and investment in the convenience store industry.  Almost thirty per cent of respondents said that they would be forced to cut staff hours in response to the intended hike in pay to £7.20 per hour. Almost twenty per cent said they would cancel or delay planned investment in their businesses with ten per cent likely to be forced to make redundancies.

 

Commenting on the initial findings, Head of Public Affairs John Lee said,

“If the UK government had consulted with industry or even with the Low Pay Commission it would have been told in no uncertain terms about the folly of introducing such an unaffordable increase in pay. We now have an emerging picture of the likely results: staff hours being cut, investment grinding to a halt and possible redundancies. We will be working with colleagues at the ACS to dissuade the UK government from taking this forward.”

 Lee added that the SGF wil also work towards developing a retailers’ guide to minimising the impact of the living wage. 

 

SGF AND PAYPOINT ANNOUNCE SCOTTISH RETAILERS' FORUM

Scottish Grocers’ Federation and PayPoint have announced the creation of a Scottish Retailers Forum to enhance communications between PayPoint and retailers.

 At a meeting at SGF Headquarters today involving SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema, Darren Tredgett of PayPoint and senior SGF retailers, it was agreed that the forum would meet twice per year, beginning in early 2016, be chaired by SGF and examine key issues around commission, bank charges, simple payments, fraud and communications. The meeting will take place in both Glasgow and Edinburgh.

 

 SGF chief executive Pete Cheema said, 

 

“This is part of our ongoing constructive engagement with PayPoint. The Forum will be a big step forward in improving relations and ensuring that both side understand the issues and challenges they face. It will also be a big step towards finding workable solutions to these challenges.”

PayPoint’s Darren Tredgett commented,

 

“We are keen to engage with all of our retailers to understand their businesses and help them profit from having PayPoint in store. It's fantastic that we can work closely together with the SGF to establish the Scottish Retailers Forum and we're looking forward to having constructive discussions and joining forces on addressing the key challenges facing retailers.”

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

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