ACS Blog

Business Needs to Speak Up on Living Wage

I’ve been pleased to see this week more companies and sector organisations – in farming and the care industry – raising concerns about the chancellor’s decision to introduce a national living wage at £7.20 in April 2016, rising to at least £9 by 2020.

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Tax Credits, Investment and the Chancellor's Living Wage

If you haven’t noticed, this has been a hell of a week.  The chancellor has announced some radical changes in policy, and two of these – devolving Sunday trading decisions and introducing a national living wage – have huge implications for our sector.  Both of these were unexpected and not included in the Conservatives’ manifesto.

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Sunday Trading

So you would expect me to be writing about Sunday trading this week.  The Chancellor's decision to devolve decisions on Sunday trading hours to mayors or councils is a hammer blow to our sector, and puts in jeopardy a piece of legislation that helps small shops and that has become totemic for our members.

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For Local Shop Policy Solutions, Go West

This week we took a trip over the Severn Bridge to the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff for a meeting of the Cross Party Group on Small Shops.  As with All Party Groups in Westminster, these groups can provide a useful focal point for discussing issues relating to particularly industries or issues, and before I forget, here is more information on the inquiry being led by the Small Shops Group in Westminster into Britain’s Everyday Entrepreneurs, which we helped launch in June.

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Using Data Effectively

I’ve been thinking a bit lately about data – how we use and abuse it and how businesses in our sector should deal with it.  A few things have caused me to mull on this topic.

Firstly, in the wake of the general election various commentators have attacked the pollsters for failing to predict the result.  My view is that the pollsters provide one data source – it’s for the commentators to interpret this and turn it into knowledge or a forecast.  It there was a failure in the pre-election media debate, the pollsters are only responsible for a small part of it.

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What A Conservative Government Could Mean for Retailers

Well that was a surprise wasn’t it?  I had predicted that the Conservatives would get most votes, but like everyone else who had an opinion on the election – including Conservative strategists and pollsters – I didn’t expect to see a majority Tory government.  So what does this mean for our sector?

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The Importance of Getting Local MPs into Your Store

Today I watched the last Prime Minister’s Questions of this Parliament, another milestone to the General Election on 7 May.  There has been a campaign running for months if not years now, but the impending poll brings into focus the opportunities to engage in the campaign as a local business.

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Can Businesses Afford to Give Their Staff a Pay Rise?

David Cameron has today urged businesses to give their staff a pay rise.  Clearly the Government’s economic analysis is that with inflation low, increasing wages would give further fuel to UK plc’s growth at little risk.

That macroeconomic analysis may be correct, but I have to start my response by looking at the microeconomic picture – the costs and income that dictate the way that businesses are run.  There are two problems for our sector with a strategy based on a hike in wages, and specifically in the National Minimum Wage.

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Review of the Year 2014

So I guess this would be a good time for me to write a review of the year.  I’m never that keen on such musings, largely because the political calendar we work to doesn’t run from January to December, and because I feel very little sense of anything concluding as we approach Christmas.  So instead of a summary of the last twelve months, here’s an assessment of where we are on some of the key policy issues affecting our sector.

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