Chief Executive's Blog: The Cost Equation

I’m writing this on New Years Eve against the backdrop of two important stories for our sector. Firstly, we planned to use today to publicise our concerns about recent reductions in the LINK interchange fee that funds free to use ATMs, and to argue for future increases to be scrapped. LINK really needs to reverse the 10% reductions they’ve already made, which have led to lots of our members seeing their free to use cash machine apply charges, or be lost altogether.

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National Living Wage to Increase by over 6% in April 2020

ACS has warned ministers that significant hikes in the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage rates announced today will put further pressure on struggling high street businesses.

The Government have today announced what it calls ‘the biggest cash increase ever’ in the National Living Wage rate. At £8.72 per hour, the National Living Wage will rise by 51p in April from its current rate of £8.21.

From April 2020, the new rates will be as follows:

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Local shops say ‘enough is enough’ on cuts to UK’s cash machine network

ACS is calling on LINK, who manages the UK’s cash machine network, to cancel their next planned fee cut and stop the torrent of machines being lost from local communities. 

LINK’s cuts to the fees that are paid to cash machine operators have resulted in thousands of free cash machines being lost in communities across the UK, leaving tens of thousands of people without any way of getting access to their money.

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Penalties for Shop Theft Decline by 95% Over the Last Decade

The Ministry of Justice has published data on the number of penalty notices issued for shop theft under £100, showing a significant decline over the last ten years.

The statistical bulletin covering the year ending June 2019 found a 95% decline since 2009 from 49,445 penalty notices issued for shop theft offences under £100 to 2,278.  Penalty notices or out of court disposals, are the most commonly used approach when dealing with shop theft offenders.

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ACS and Crimestoppers Renew Partnership to Support Police Forces and Tackle Violence Against Local Shops

ACS has reaffirmed its commitment to keeping retailers and colleagues safe in local shops with the renewal of its partnership with crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers.

Crimestoppers and ACS have been in partnership since 2010, and have worked to raise awareness of violence against local shops, while also offering rewards of up to £50,000 per incident for serious crimes that have been committed in shops within local communities.

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Locally Set Business Rates in Scotland Would Harm Convenience Sector

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has submitted evidence to the Scottish Parliament’s Communities and Local Government Committee, raising concerns about the negative impact that localising business rates would have on convenience retailers.

Andy Wightman MSP has tabled an amendment to the Non Domestic Rates(Scotland) Bill which would allow local authorities to set the poundage rate and impose additional levies and supplements on retailers. The amendment could effectively abolish nationally-set reliefs including the Small Business Bonus Scheme.

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ACS Launches Guidance for Retailers on Menthol Cigarette Ban

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has launched guidance for retailers on the upcoming ban on the sale of menthol cigarettes which comes into force from 20th May 2020.

The European Union Revised Tobacco Products Directive (2014/40/EU) makes it an offence for manufacturers to produce menthol cigarettes and retailers to sell menthol cigarettes from 20th May 2020.

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ACS Encourages Retailers to Prepare for Refrigeration Changes

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) is reminding retailers about the upcoming refrigeration changes that will be in force from the beginning of January and encouraging them to make sure that their store is prepared for the new regulations.

The EU Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulation (also known as the EU F-Gas Regulation), will ban the use of refrigerants with a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 2,500 or more in certain refrigeration units. It will also ban refrigeration technicians from servicing these units.

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ACS Calls on Retailers to Respond to the 2020 Crime Survey

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) is calling on retailers to share their experiences of retail crime over the last 12 months in their 2020 Crime Survey.

The survey examines the impact that crime has on the convenience sector looking at how crime is affecting retailers, number of incidents experienced and how much crime has cost businesses over the last year. The survey also considers the causes of these crimes and the measures retailers have in place to prevent crime in their stores.

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