Four out of five consumers want local CTNs to remain independent and not behave like supermarkets, according to a new report commissioned by wholesaler Palmer & Harvey.

The Shop Health study also revealed that 79% of consumers think it is unfair that newsagents can’t compete on price with large chains, and 70% believe that newsagents should be offered some sort of protection by central or local government.

Competition from major retailers was cited as the biggest concern of CTN operators themselves, with 42% naming it their number one issue, ahead of declining news sales (19%) and tobacco legislation (16%).

Speaking at the launch event at the Houses of Parliament, Priti Patel MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group, said: “Small shops face far too many challenges, and my role is to support them and try to bring some changes to this area.”

According to the report, 85% of CTNs collect money for charity, 61% say they actively keep an eye on elderly customers and 30% run community noticeboards, yet 67% of shoppers say they have not noticed their local shop doing anything for the community.

P&H commercial & sales managing director Martyn Ward added: “CTNs are a big part of our heritage and an important part of our lives. Small CTNs are telling us it is tough out there, but it is clear that consumers still want you to continue to offer local services. The vital thing is that your local community knows about all the good work you are doing.”

Research for the report was carried out by HIM and Toluna.