Budget 2015 Reaction: Association of Convenience Stores

The Association of Convenience Stores has responded to the Chancellor's 2015 Budget, welcoming key measures on alcohol duty and business rate relief.

ACS chief executive James Lowman responded on the following topics:

DUTY RATES:

"The reductions in alcohol duty rates are a welcome measure, as alcohol is an important category in convenience stores. With lower duty rates alongside the Alcohol Wholesaler Registration Scheme and renewed focus from HMRC, we are at last seeing progress in tackling the damaging illegal alcohol trade."

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ACS Warns of Impact of Above Inflation Minimum Wage Increase

ACS has warned that the above inflation 3% increase in the adult National Minimum Wage to £6.70 will have a negative impact on staffing and investment levels in the convenience sector.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are disappointed with the increase in the National Minimum Wage above inflation, above average earnings growth, and above public sector pay award levels. Our research has clearly shown that retailers have little choice but to reduce staff hours and delay further business investment when the minimum wage is increased.

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ACS Announces Addition of Conviviality Retail to Membership

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has announced that convenience store chain Conviviality Retail have joined as members.

Conviviality Retail owns the UK’s largest franchised off-licence and convenience chain with over 600 franchisee-operated stores located throughout England, Wales and soon to be Scotland. Conviviality operates five fascias including Bargain Booze, Bargain Booze Select Convenience, BB’s Warehouse, Thoroughgoods, and Wine Rack. Conviviality recently welcomed former ACS Chairman Jonathan James into a long term franchise agreement.

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ACS Calls for High Street Support in Business Rates Review

ACS has responded to the Government’s launch of a fundamental review of business rates, calling for greater support for small businesses and high streets.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome this overdue review, and we are pleased that it will take a look at radical options for reforming the outdated business rates system. The review must deliver help for high streets, be simpler than the current system, and offer incentives for investment rather than penalising businesses which improve their premises.”

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Local Shops Set Out Growth Agenda to Chancellor

In its submission to the Treasury ahead of the final Budget before the 2015 General Election, ACS has highlighted long term business rates reform, tackling the £1.3bn annual cost of duty fraud and minimising the negative impact of employment costs as the issues where local shops need to see immediate action to unlock more growth and jobs in the convenience store sector.

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Welsh Small Shops Group Discuss Business Rates

The Cross Party Group on Small Shops gathered yesterday (11thMarch) to discuss the future of devolved business rates in Wales following the chancellor’s announcement in November’s Autumn Financial Statement.

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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.

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MPs Approve Plain Packaging Regulations

Regulations enforcing standardised tobacco packaging have been approved by MPs by 367 to 113, majority 254, in a free vote in the House of Commons.

Peers will be asked to vote on the regulations on Monday and, if they approve them, the new rules will come into force in May 2016.

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MPs and ACS Call for Universal Carrier Bag Charge

MPs have spoken out against Government plans to exclude small businesses from the 5p carrier bag charge in a parliamentary debate this morning (10th March).

In the debate, Dan Rogerson MP refused to acknowledge the concerns raised by both MPs and business groups, making no comment on the widespread support for a universal carrier bag charge.

ACS has called for all businesses to be included in the ban to ensure consistency for retailers and consumers alike. Under Government plans, businesses with fewer than 250 employees will be exempt from the ban.

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