Parties tell SGF hustings that Holyrood could look again at parity with emergency services for offences against store staff
CALLS for shop workers to be given the same legal protection as emergency workers have met with an encouraging response from politicians.
The Scottish Grocers Federation included its aim in its 2016 manifesto, launched at its ‘Big Debate’ event on 14 April. The document is targeted at MSPs who will be in Holyrood after the election on 5 May.
The issue was put directly to panel members at the Big Debate, among them deputy first minister John Swinney, who said he was “happy to consider it”.
Labour list candidate Daniel Johnston said he had already signed Usdaw’s pledge on the issue, while Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser said he was “genuinely interested in seeing this taken forward”.
Lib-Dem peer and former MSP Jeremy Purvis was upfront about not supporting legal protection for shop workers when it came before Holyrood in 2010. He said: “While I’m sympathetic, I still think there are a number of issues we would have to have a dialogue about.”
Panel members were also prompted to give a clear message as to whether their parties will advocate for a deposit return scheme in the next parliament.
Although the SNP Government has already embarked on consideration of the scheme, John Swinney said he could see the difficulties with it, while Daniel Johnston, Scottish Labour, described it as “a nightmare for small retailers”.
Murdo Fraser said it could be assumed that the Conservative party was not supporting it, while the Lib-Dem Jeremy Purvis said he was “instinctively more in favour of councils having a municipal energy and recycling strategy”.
The Scottish Greens are the only party to have included the measure in their manifesto. List candidate Peter McColl said: “The reason why we support this is it’s better to re-use a receptacle than recycle it, in energy terms.”
At least a third of the new parliament’s MSPs will have been elected for the first time. The SGF has said it will look to hold a series of events to ensure that new MSPs are aware of the challenges facing the industry.