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Rural Shop Report 2022 Parliamentary Launch

25th January 2022
Churchill Room, House of Commons, London
25.01.2022
12:15pm - 3:00pm
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This event will launch the ACS Rural Shop Report 2022, providing an essential guide for those with an interest in the rural convenience sector, whether from a retailer, supplier, academic or political perspective. The report will feature key insights into the people, businesses and services related to shops in the rural economy.

This parliamentary launch event provides the opportunity to meet your MP, network with retailers and examine the changing landscape and policy priorities for the rural shop sector.

The reception will include speeches from: Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon; James Lowman, ACS Chief Executive; Lord Benyon, Minister for Rural Affairs (invited); and another keynote rural speaker.

To register your interest, please email steve.dowling@acs.org.uk

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Event Speakers

Lord Benyon; DEFRA Minister for Rural Affairs

After a career in the Army, Richard qualified as a Chartered Surveyor. He was a local Councillor in West Berkshire in the 1990s and then pursued a further career in politics before being elected to Parliament for the Newbury constituency in 2005. From 2010 to 2013 he was Environment Minister at DEFRA. He chaired the All-Party Parliamentary Environment Group, was a member of Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee and led the UK delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. He is a Privy Councillor and now sits in the House of Lords as Lord Benyon of Englefield. Richard was appointed Minister for Rural Affairs at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in May 2021.

Rachael Hockmeyer, Spar Sleaford, Director

Rachael’s family bought their current site in 1972, where she worked as a teenager. After university, Rachael worked as a branch manager for Stead and Simpson and then as a store manager for Argos before returning to the business in 1999 with husband Christian. The 2,100 sq. ft forecourt store provides 24 jobs, catering for transient customers and local residents, while prioritising sustainability and developing a local reputation for gifting hampers around occasions. Recently, the store has left bags of Spar goodies and welcome letters as housewarming gifts to arriving residents in a new local housing estate. Rachael is described by her colleagues as ambitious, fair and family-orientated. She serves on the Spar Guild, is a school trustee and performs in musicals in her spare time.

Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon

James Lowman, Chief Executive, ACS

James was appointed ACS Chief Executive in November 2006. He has led ACS on political and policy representation, driven a unique research programme that informs ACS’ policy work, launched an industry-leading assured advice scheme in partnership with Surrey County Council, created a new and unique events programme, and increased membership and engagement from all parts of the industry. He has been recognised for his work with outstanding achievement awards from HIM, Palmer & Harvey, YIGA, and the Retail Industry Awards. James is a member of ministerial advisory groups including the National Retail Crime Steering Group and the Retail Sector Council. He also sits on the boards of Community Alcohol Partnerships, the London Food Board and the High Streets Task Force. James joined ACS in 1997. He has a degree in Politics from the University of Essex, and an MBA from Kingston Business School.