C-store retailers have been urged to make their voices heard and promote issues affecting the sector to MPs ahead of the General Election on 8 June.

The Association of Convenience Stores has outlined four key election priorities for government including: reforming business rates; reducing the cost of employment and allowing more flexible use of the Apprenticeship Levy; increasing funding for councils for litter and expanding the 5p plastic bag levy to small stores; and tackling shop theft by creating a uniform reporting mechanism for small stores.

Speaking at the ACS Summit in Birmingham NEC on Tuesday, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “I’m challenging our sector to make their voice heard and to get into the heads and hearts of politicians.

“Over the next six weeks, I’m calling on everyone to use this opportunity to promote the convenience sector, the issues we face, and the people that run stores across the UK.”

Nisa ceo Nick Read also highlighted the importance of legislation to its members. “Retailers don’t want to talk about Booker and Tesco. They want to talk about the EUTPD, the National Living Wage and business rates,” he said.

He also warned of the mounting pressure of price inflation, which was growing at its highest rate for six years. “Some 45% of food is imported. We have no choice but to pass inflation on to the customer.”

But he urged retailers to embrace the opportunities provided by the Millennial and Baby boomer generations, as well as food to go and technology. “Don’t be afraid to invest. Market expectations have increased massively,” he added.