Book Your Place at the ACS Variety Night

ACS has announced a host of the finest comedy acts in the UK to provide plenty of laughter at this year’s ACS Variety Night. Combining entertainment, networking and a three course meal, the hugely successful Variety Night will once again be held on the evening of the ACS Summit 15 conference in the Metropole Hilton Hotel, opposite Summit’s NEC Birmingham venue.

Retailers and suppliers are invited to attend this can’t-miss event which kicks off with a drinks reception, followed by dinner and an evening boasting a host of award-winning comedy entertainers.

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Conservatives Announce Manifesto Pledges Ahead of 2015 Election

The Conservative Party have released their full manifesto ahead of the 2015 General Election, setting out their proposals to cut tax for employees on minimum wage and take quick action on business rates.

Regarding business rates, the Conservative Manifesto states that they will deliver a review of the rate by the end of 2015 and implement changes in time for the 2017 revaluation; this is earlier than the proposed review timetable.

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Labour Announce Manifesto Pledges Ahead of 2015 Election

The Labour Party have released their full manifesto ahead of the 2015 General Election, calling for action on low pay and tougher sentences for those who assault shop workers.

On the issue of low pay, Labour have affirmed their commitment to increase the National Minimum Wage to £8 per hour by October 2019, and have set out proposals to reform the way the Low Pay Commission works. Labour also intend to require publicly listed companies to state whether they pay employees the living wage, and incentivise the payment of the living wage through tax rebates.

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Latest Kantar Figures Show Continuing Growth of Discounters

The latest Kantar Worldpanel figures released this week have revealed that discounter Aldi is now Britain’s sixth largest supermarket, with 5.3% share of the overall grocery market.

Elsewhere in the market, Lidl and Waitrose also increased their sales and market share. Waitrose increased its sales by 2.9% compared to this time last year, continuing sales increases that started in March 2009. Lidl’s sales growth stands at 12.1% in the latest period, with the discounter now representing 3.7% of the grocery market.

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Business Rates Changes Come into Effect Today

From today, the new business rate multiplier will take effect. The multiplier has risen by 2% to 49.3p in England. This 2% increase is due to the cap on rates increases imposed by Government until 2016 – the rates increase would otherwise have been 2.3% in accordance with the September 2014 rate of RPI. Also from today, business rates will be fully devolved to Wales. This means that the revenue from business rates collected in Wales will remain there, and be redistributed amongst Welsh local authorities.

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Plaid Cymru Announce Manifesto Pledges Ahead of 2015 Election

The Welsh party, Plaid Cymru, have released their full manifesto ahead of the 2015 General Election on 7th May, calling for increases to the minimum wage and reduction in business rates.

In their manifesto, Plaid Cymru want to increase to the minimum wage and implement sanctions against companies not keeping to it to create a living wage. They would also seek to raise the National Insurance threshold to sit in line with the income tax threshold.

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Brandon Lewis Visits Local Store to Discuss Investment and Employment Issues

Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis visited local retailers Simone and Peter Calnon on Friday morning to discuss the changes they’ve made to meet the needs of customers and the regulatory issues they face in their business.

The two Spar Foodmarkets stores are a part of a family business, having been established in 1987 by Peter’s parents. Simone and Peter have won national awards for their store, as well as being highly active in their local communities. Since January 2000, the stores have donated over £21,000 to national and local charities.

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Labour Launch Business Manifesto

Labour Party Leader, Ed Miliband, launched Labour’s Business Manifesto this week, which included a range of pledges on business rates, zero-hour contracts and energy bills that Labour would pursue if they win the next election.

The most notable announcements included cutting business rates for the first year of the next parliament and then freezing them, helping more than 1.5 million small businesses, this would be funded by scrapping planned Corporation Tax reductions.

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Tobacco Smuggling Strategy Needs More Ambitious Targets

HMRC and The UK Border Force have released a new tobacco smuggling strategy this week; “Tackling illicit tobacco: From leaf to light”.  The new strategy highlights that revenue loss from illegal tobacco stands at £2.1 billion however the Government states its medium term ambition is to “hold the cigarettes illicit market share at or below 10%”.

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