THE increasing financial pressure on retailers was the focus of the first official meeting of the Cross Party Group on Independent Convenience Stores, held at the Scottish Parliament in November.
Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown MSP, spoke on the Scottish Government’s approach to supporting business before taking questions from the crowd.
Subjects under discussion included the increase in the National Living Wage, National Insurance, auto-enrolment pensions, business rates and the cumulative impact on Scotland’s small businesses, particularly those in rural communities.
Brown also agreed to facilitate a meeting between the group’s representatives and the Westminster Government, so that they could speak to power on non-devolved matters.
SGF’s head of policy John Lee said: “I think that’s a big commitment and a real achievement for the group at this early stage.”
The group will meet again on 17 January.
• SGF chief executive Pete Cheema sent out a personal end-of-year report to all the federation’s retail and corporate members highlighting “a year of real achievement” in 2016.
“Many of our achievements this year have been made possible by investing time and resources in the ‘creating effective partnerships’ strand of our public affairs strategy,” said Cheema.
“I believe that we have delivered on behalf of this trade in 2016. We will build on this is 2017 and are committed to demonstrating real value to our retail and corporate members.
“We will continue to invest in both technology and people in 2017 and ensure our events offer something practical to retailers. We are looking forward to new challenges and opportunities in 2017.”