We are in the heart of another election season, with representatives for the Welsh Assembly and Scottish Parliament, Police and Crime Commissioners, the Mayor of London and local government in England all up for grabs in May. In addition, the public will be going to the polls in June to decide our future as a nation either in or out of the European Union.
You may have strong views about membership of the EU, but when I analyse the issues facing local shops, I find most are determined more by local councils and by parliaments in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Westminster than by Brussels.
To give one example, the Welsh Assembly has been considering whether to introduce a tobacco register which retailers would have to pay fees for. We campaigned against the plans and gave evidence to an Assembly committee. Thankfully the plans have been dropped, but it is a stark reminder that devolved assemblies have wide-ranging powers that can affect your bottom line.
Perhaps the least newsworthy poll of the set is the election of Police and Crime Commissioners. Ahead of the elections, we’re writing to every PCC candidate asking them about their intentions in the role. We aim to get assurances that they will prioritise neighbourhood policing teams, ensure that fixed penalty notices are used appropriately (and that their use is suspended when they’re not), recognise the impact that business crime has on retailers and their staff, and make recommendations to retailers on how best to report crime. Getting these assurances will be an important step toward ensuring that crimes against retailers are taken seriously.