ACS Blog

Weekly Shopping Bills

Last week I wrote about the local and European elections on 22 May. Now the votes are in (but not all announced), we’re into the phase of frantic spin by all parties explaining why the results were better, or less bad, than they were expecting.

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Election Season

On 22 May, we (by which I mean substantially less than half of the UK population) will vote on how we want to be represented in the European Parliament. ACS is a non-partisan organization, though I am on record here disputing the crude maths used by UKIP to oppose immigration – we know that many convenience stores are run by recent immigrants, and that they provide jobs and add value to the economy.

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Supermarket Job Claims

You may have seen David Cameron popping up in an ASDA this week hailing their announcement of creating 12,000 new jobs. This set piece was slightly overshadowed by the revelation that the Prime Minister shops in Waitrose – surely the least surprising news of the week.

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Energy Market Investigation

On Wednesday morning, energy regulator Ofgem hastily announced that they are consulting on plans to refer the energy market to the Competition Markets Authority. The investigation, which is slated to take at least 18 months, will look at increasing competition in the marketplace by removing the barriers to entry of smaller suppliers and encouraging more switching from consumers, thus driving down prices.

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#everybodyshops

It’s unusual – and probably against the terms of my contract – to be writing in the week of ACS Summit about another event. However I really want to share some insights I picked up at the Everybody Shops conference, conceived and hosted by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, last week. I was fortunate to be asked to chair this event, which was all about how retailers, suppliers, town planners and managers, and charities can work together to improve the offer for older customers.

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Budget 2014

We have had a run of major announcements affecting retail from George Osbourne in his Budgets and Autumn Financial Statements, so by his standards yesterday was a low key affair. The compelling statistics were there: the economy is back in growth (2.4%) and the amount of people unemployed has fallen again by 63,000 .

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John Leach

ACS is a relatively new organisation, formed in 1995. However our roots are much deeper, going all the way back to 1891. I personally like to look forward rather than back, but sometimes something happens that makes me reflect on the past, and the people whose work put in place some of the building blocks for what ACS has become today.

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Super Strength Solutions

I was going to write a blog on super strength alcohol and local schemes, but our Public Affairs Director Shane Brennan has just been to a conference to speak about the issue, so I thought I’d ask him to write it instead. Here it is:

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Minimum Wage Debate

As much as any other issue we deal with, the National Minimum Wage prompts passionate and radically opposing viewpoints. Some, including some senior politicians, will privately say that the minimum wage is a distortion of the labour market and damages jobs, growth and competitiveness. Others believe that wage inequality must be addressed far more aggressively through big increases in the minimum wage.

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Local Means Local

Just under a year ago I was asked to join the Future High Streets Forum, and soon after I became chair of the policy group of the Forum. This has given me an insight into some of the initiatives being taken to support high streets around the country, and I wanted to share something I’ve learned over that time.

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