Great British High Streets Awards Shortlist Announced

Towns and villages around Britain are set to battle it out after making it onto the shortlist for the Great British High Street Awards.

The competition to find Britain’s best high streets is highlighting new and innovative ways to boost high streets and ideas that will be shared with others. It is shining a light on hard working traders and communities around the country and showing what can be done to help shopping streets evolve to be places where people want to shop, socialise and work.

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National Minimum Wage Increase Comes into Force Today

The National Minimum Wage will rise from £6.31 to £6.50 today (October 1st) for employees over the age of 21 (an increase of 3%).

In addition to the change in the adult rate, there are also changes to the youth and development rates of the minimum wage. From today, the 18-20 year old rate will rise from £5.03 to £5.13, the 16-17 rate from £3.72 to £3.79 and the apprentice rate from £2.68 to £2.73.

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Local Shops Concerned over Future Staff Hours ahead of Minimum Wage Hike

UK convenience store retailers have invested more in their staff over the last three months than at any time since the start of 2012, according to new research from the Association of Convenience Stores.

Research conducted by ACS has shown that for the first time since the start of the Voice of Local Shops Survey, there are more retailers that have increased the number of staff hours in their business than those who have decreased hours. In addition, the business performance of convenience stores is at its highest ever level in the survey’s history.

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Low Pay Commission Urged to Consider Harm to Small Shops from Minimum Wage Rises

ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) has submitted evidence to the Low Pay Commission, calling on the commission to carefully assess the impact of the rate rise on small retailers.

In its submission, ACS notes that according to a survey of retailers, increases in the minimum wage correlate with a negative effect on business competitiveness. 56% of retailers stated that NMW rises have made their business less competitive.

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ACS Assured Advice Guides on Health & Safety & Selling Fireworks

‘Managing Health And Safety’ and ‘Selling Fireworks’ are the two latest Assured Advice Guides published by ACS under its innovative primary authority compliance scheme. The scheme, which is free to all ACS members, provides retailers with excellent tailored advice developed by retail and local authority experts.

Once members sign up to the scheme and use the guidance, they can be sure that their policies and procedures will not be challenged or changed by any other local authority.

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Labour Fringe: Rates Reform Essential to High Street Recovery

Shadow Small Business Minister Toby Perkins has called for more to be done to reform the rates system as part of a discussion on the future of the high street at Labour Party Conference.

During the fringe event hosted by ACS and the British Independent Retailers Association, Mr Perkins recognised the need to bring down business rates bills on high streets across the country and also called for a review of property tax to help businesses.

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Politicians Must Not Undermine Low Pay Commission on Minimum Wage

Local shops have responded to recent announcements on the minimum wage, calling for politicians not to undermine the decision making process of the Low Pay Commission.

At the Labour Party’s annual conference, Mr Miliband pledged that the minimum wage would rise to £8.00 an hour by 2020. The current minimum wage rate is due to rise to £6.50 next month.

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ACS Calls for EU Alcohol Strategy to Target Illicit Trade

ACS has called for an EU Alcohol Strategy that tackles the illicit trade and develops an independent evidence base that provides a sound foundation for national policy interventions that tackle alcohol harm.

In its’ submission to the House of Lords Select Committee on the European Union, ACS has called for the next strategy to steer clear of a one size fits all approach on interventions to combat alcohol harm and instead allow member states to implement policies at a local level.

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MPs Raise Concerns About Effectiveness of Town Centre First Policy

MPs have raised question about the effectiveness of the planning system to direct new retail investment in town centres during an oral evidence session on the National Planning Policy Framework.  John Pugh MP for Southport and member of the Communities and Local Government Selection Committee referenced ACS’ (the Association of Convenience Stores) report ‘Retail Planning Decision Under the NPPF’ during the evidence session.

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