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Scottish Government Wrong On Restricting Promotion

Scottish Grocers Federation has strongly criticised Scottish government proposals to restrict grocery promotions such as multibuys in stores as lacking in evidence, badly thought through and unenforceable. The Federation was responding to a major Scottish government consultation on reducing harm from foods deemed to be high in fat, salt and sugar. The consultation period ended today.

The SGF submission highlighted that the government has not yet defined which products would be included in the proposed restrictions and as such it was almost impossible to fully assess the impact on the convenience sector. The consultation document also stated that ‘upselling’ would no longer be permitted. In effect this means that staff asking customers if they would like a muffin with their coffee could be committing an offence. The Scottish government has indicated that any new regulations would be enforced by local authorities.

SGF head of public affairs Dr John Lee said,

“Retailers should be allowed to use a wide range of promotions to ensure they stay competitive and provide customers with the value for money they have come to expect. A the moment we simply don’t know the full range of products which would be caught up in new regulations – full technical specifications should have been published before this consultation was launched. It will be very difficult for retailers to accurately assess which products will be restricted. Additionally, we fail to see how any new regulations– which will undoubtedly be quite baffling for both retailers and customers - can be effectively enforced.”

The Scottish government has indicated that it will establish an ‘expert technical panel’ to develop new definitions of foods deemed to be high in fat salt and sugar.

SGF calls for investment fund towards Scottish Deposit Return System

Scottish Grocers Federation is calling for the Scottish government to set up a new £50 million investment fund to enable convenience retailers to meet the cost of a Scottish Deposit Return System. The proposal forms a key part of SGF’s submission to the Scottish government consultation on DRS, which will ultimately set the parameters for the system in Scotland. Based on the system in Norway, which provides a useful benchmark for Scotland in terms of population and geography, it is likely that Scotland will require 3,700 automated collection points. The new ‘Circular Economy Fund’ would enable retailers to meet the capital expenditure required to install a Reverse Vending Machine – the most efficient way of taking back containers.

SGF head of public affairs, Dr John Lee commented,

“The Sottish government has stated that DRS should be developed in a way that addresses the specific needs of small retailers – to deliver on this the government needs to establish this fund to guarantee that the system is established on a full cost recovery basis and that small retailers are not left at a competitive disadvantage with the big supermarkets. We need this policy to succeed and small retailers must be given the resources to participate in it.”

SGF has also strongly argued that body which runs the system must be controlled by industry, without interference by the Scottish government or its agencies and should be comprised of both manufacturers and retailers. SGF is also developing a series of in-store trails of Reverse Vending Machines with its retail members and the main RVM manufacturers; the first trials of their kind in convenience stores in Scotland.

The Scottish government will undertake an analysis of all submissions received and publish its final proposals towards the end of 2018.

Clampdown on Youth Drinking Widens its Impact

An award-winning campaign aimed at tackling underage drinking by raising awareness of the negative effects and offence of buying alcohol for under 18s, known as a proxy purchase, is now running in three new areas of Scotland, with more aiming to come on stream.

The ‘You’re Asking For It’ campaign was first trialled in Motherwell and Wishaw in 2015, followed by Leith in 2016 and was delivered North Lanarkshire wide in 2017. At an event in Motherwell earlier this year campaigners shared experience of delivering the campaign and its impact. The event with attendees from local authorities, Police Scotland, retail sector, alcohol producer’s health workers and more also saw the launch of the website www.youreaskingforit.com aimed at supporting those areas who wished to roll out the campaign. As a result the campaign is currently running across Glasgow; Kirkintilloch, East Dunbartonshire and Burntisland, Fife with more areas looking to run the campaign, including Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverclyde.

John Lee, Chair of the SAIP Campaigns Group and Head of Policy and Public Affairs, Scottish Grocers’ Federation said:

Interest in the campaign has been high. It is great seeing other parts of Scotland picking it up and rolling it out.  We know from our evaluation this campaign has a positive impact in tackling underage drinking. We will be assessing the results from the new areas running the campaign to feed into our plans for 2019. Our aim is to see it rolled out nationally

Personal Licence Renewals – SGF Says ‘No’ to Retailer Fees

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation has just submitted its response to the Scottish Government’s consultation on introducing a fee for applying to renew a personal licence. The Licensing (Scotland) 2005 Act requires those who authorise the sale of alcohol to possess a personal licence and for it to be renewed every ten years. With the licensing regime contained in the 2005 Act going live in September 2009, the ten year point will be reached in September 2019. Many retailers will therefore fall into the first phase of renewal applications which opens on 31 August 2018.

 Commenting of the consultation, SGF Policy Officer, Luke McGarty said: 

“The Scottish Grocers’ Federation believe that the fee for renewal of a personal licence represents another cost for retailers who are themselves licence holders. The consultation highlights that nearly sixty thousand individuals across Scotland hold a personal licence. This being the case, the cost to renew all of them – if the renewal fee was set at £50 – would be approximately £3 million onto business and retailers. 

This is an additional cost which convenience retailers could do without and we believe that alternatives – such as removing the renewal requirement in Scotland altogether - need to be considered by the Scottish Government before any decision is taken.” 

The absolute deadline for submitting renewal applications is 31st May 2019.

 

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