New Minimum Wage Rates Apply from October 1st 2016

The Government has accepted the Low Pay Commission’s recommendations for minimum wage rates for 2016-17, with the new rates to apply from October 1st.

The rates applicable for those aged 25 or under are set out below. For those over 25 the national living wage – currently £7.20 – will apply. The Low Pay Commission will make recommendations this Autumn on the rate of the National Living Wage to apply from April 2017.

The new rates are as follows:

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ACS Renews Call for Universal Carrier Bag Charge in England

ACS has reiterated its calls to Government to remove the exemption for small businesses on single use carrier bags in England.

Under the current regulations, small businesses with fewer than 250 employees are exempt from the carrier bag charging regulations, meaning that they do not have to charge 5p for single use bags. However, many stores have introduced a charge voluntarily to raise money for local causes. These rules only apply in England, as in Scotland and Wales the bag charge applies to all businesses regardless of size.

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Government Figures Show Overall Fall in Retail Business Rates Bills

The Government has published headline figures on the results of the revaluation of business rates, announcing that rateable values in the retail sector are set to increase by an average of 4.7% across the UK, although this is heavily influenced by a 26.2% increase in rateable values in London, with most regions in England and Wales seeing a decrease in their rateable values.

There is also due to be a reduction of 1.7p in both the small business and standard rates multiplier, which will lead to net decreases in most retailers’ business rates bills.

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ACS Announces New Chair and Deputy Chair

ACS has confirmed the appointment of Patrick Sewell and Debbie Robinson as chair and deputy chair respectively.

Patrick will take on the chairmanship of ACS from 1 November 2016, having served as deputy chair since 2014. Patrick will replace Palmer and Harvey Group Strategy and Development Director Paul Hagon as chair, who remains on the ACS board.

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ACS Welcomes Small Business Rate Relief Extension in Wales

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has welcomed the Welsh Government’s announcement that the Small Business Rate Relief scheme will be extended for 2017-18 and made permanent in 2018.

Businesses with a rateable value of up to £6,000 will continue to receive 100% relief, while those with a rateable value of between £6,000 and £12,000 will receive tapered relief from 100% to 0.

The Welsh Government claim that 70% of small businesses in Wales are eligible for relief, with around half of those eligible paying no rates at all.

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ACS Responds to Food Waste Inquiry

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has responded to the House of Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ Food Waste Inquiry, insisting that there is no need for new legislation to reduce food waste as retailers are already reducing waste pro-actively through food donations or giving food to staff.

In the submission, ACS highlighted that there is significant variety in the products offered by different types of convenience stores, depending on their size and location, and that the amount of food waste produced by a convenience store will vary accordingly.

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Polymer £5 Bank Notes Enter Circulation Today

All retailers that handle cash need to be prepared for the introduction of the new £5 polymer note, which enters circulation today.

The new bank note is printed on polymer, which is a thin flexible plastic material. Polymer notes last longer, stay cleaner and are harder to counterfeit than paper notes.

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