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SGF Moves Quickly To Respond To Election Result

The Scottish Grocers’ Federation has moved quickly to respond to the new political landscape in Scotland. The SNP’s stunning success means that there are now 50 new Scottish MPs at Westminster. The Federation will directly contact all of the new MPs highlighting the impact independent convenience stores have on the local and national economy. Crucially the mailshot will give every MP a breakdown of the number of convenience stores in their constituency,  the jobs they provide and will encourage the new members to get out and visit local stores.

 The constituency-level information is derived from ACS’ Local Shop Report. SGF’s ongoing partnership with ACS has enabled Scotland-specific statistics to be broken down from the Local Shop Report. SGF is convinced that this is type of localised data will be vital  in engaging with and informing MPs.

 

 Commenting on the election result SGF Chief Executive Pete Cheema said,

 

 This is a remarkable result . Until now it was impossible to think that the Labour Party in Scotland would be reduced to having the same number of seats as the Tories! If we see this support for the SNP continuing it could pave the way for another referendum after the Scottish election in 2020. SGF’s ability to engage with and influence both Scottish MPs and members of the Scottish Parliament means that it is now more import than ever for suppliers, symbol groups and retailers to engage with and support the Federation.

Commission Changes - SGF and PayPoint Move Quickly on Retailers Concerns

In response to widespread concerns from retailers about changes to commission rates, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) and PayPoint have moved quickly to confirm they are actively working together to devise a range of discounted services for SGF members with PayPoint, including preferential banking arrangements.

The two organisations are in discussions with a number of banks.

Pete Cheema, Chief Executive of the SGF, commented:

“As Scotland’s premier retail grocery organisation, the SGF already offers its members a number of excellent deals that help to reduce their costs and add value to their businesses. PayPoint has always taken a very similar approach to providing support services to assist retailers in its network, such as its special account with Barclays, so it is a natural move to work closely together to develop further deals and discounts for retailers.”

“PayPoint is one of a range of vital services independent retailers offer to local communities. I  am hoping  to finalise a package of services for SGF members, both with PayPoint and one of the banks, in the very near future.”

 

 

SGF ACS Briefing on New Licensing Bill

SGF and ACS have expressed strong concerns about proposals to introduce a new licensing objective alongside the extension of overprovision powers in Scotland.

As part of its stage one scrutiny of the Air Weapons and Licensing Bill, the Scottish Parliament Local Government Committee has recommended that a new objective aimed at reducing alcohol consumption should be implemented. This would be in addition to the five licensing objectives which Boards in Scotland currently have to abide by.

SGF has worked jointly with the Association of Convenience Stores to produce a briefing paper for all MSPs in advance of a full parliamentary debate on the Bill and his written directly to the Convenor of the Committee, Kevin Stewart MSP to highlight the concerns of local shops.

SGF Head of Public Affairs John Lee said; “The Committee has pulled this out from nowhere. The draft Bill from the Scottish government did not contain this proposal and it was not mentioned in the original consultation. We feel such an objective would be unworkable – reducing consumption is best dealt with through the existing objective to promote public health.”

 ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The existing Scottish licensing objectives significantly restrict the sale and promotion of alcohol already.  The proposal for an additional overconsumption objective is unworkable and will significantly hamper positive investment from convenience retailers in communities across Scotland.”

Download Briefing Paper Here 

SGF and ACS Call for Fairer Rates System

Retailers Call for Fairer Business Rates System in Scotland

Convenience store retailers have called for changes to the business rates revaluation system in Scotland to make the system fairer as part of a submission to the Scottish Government.

In a joint submission by the Association of Convenience Stores and the Scottish Grocers Federation, the trade bodies have called for a valuation system that is transparent, up to date, and cost effective.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Business rates are a key issue for convenience retailers in Scotland, with our research showing that business rates represent up to 62% of a convenience stores’ property costs. We would like to see a rating system that is clear and understandable for retailers .”

Under the current system, business rates revaluations are carried out every five years. However, due to the delay in the upcoming rates revaluation, current rateable values are based on rental data from seven years ago when the market was at its peak.

Mr Lowman continued: “Moving to a three year revaluation period would provide more accurate rateable values and avoid the huge disconnect between the current rating list and property value fluctuations that we’ve seen over the last seven years.”

In the submission, ACS and SGF also call for further use of discretionary rate relief to help local shops, and a move to a single assessor in Scotland – a system which is currently successfully in place in England and Wales. 

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