You could be forgiven for not being able to make head nor tail of the implications of George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review.
The general feedback I get from members is that they want government to get out of the way and let them get on with the business of serving the community and making a living. So in some ways, a smaller state may be welcomed by local shops, but there are implications we need to think about. Cuts in programmes and departmental budgets will change the business of government significantly and have an impact on the economy. The standout areas for us are the funding cuts to local government, policing and the justice system.
At a time when government is setting out a commitment to give more power to councils to make decisions locally we should be worried that they will have fewer people to shoulder the responsibilities. Regulatory services such as Trading Standards and Environmental Health will be under pressure. In the areas where the services survive, we should expect a scale-back in functions they perform, and we have to be prepared for many councils to retreat to the minimum requirements. We should also expect creative attempts at fundraising, most notably increases in fees for council services.
Policing is another concern. There have been attempts to reassure the public about frontline police numbers. We will have to see, but we can't help think that the greater the cost pressures facing the police, the less their ability to respond quickly to incidents, to engage on crime prevention and to take cases through the courts rather than going for quick and simple solutions such as Fixed Penalty Notices.
The quality and quantity of policing in the communities served by c-stores will tell.