The General Election is almost upon us and by all accounts it's going to be a close one. Political pundits tell us that the turnout will be crucial every vote will count.

What's already clear is that some aspects of trading will continue to be tough, whoever wins. Duty on alcohol and tobacco will only rise, and concerns such as obesity and anti-social behaviour mean retailers will be targeted by any administration looking for soundbite solutions to the nation's complex problems.

But beyond that there is daylight to be glimpsed in some of the promises made by the main parties in their manifestos. While no coloured rosette is pinned squarely to the cause of the small shop, there are plenty of reassuring indications buried among the commitments made by the politicians.

Convenience Store has selected six key areas in which we believe our new leaders could help your business: alcohol, tobacco, crime, red tape, the power of the supermarkets, and the future of the Post Office.

It would be nice to be able to say that one political party has the more favourable policies in each case; of course, it's not that simple. But by outlining the various pledges in the following pages, we hope to give you the tools to select the party which, on balance, understands the pressures on your business and the value of local shops to the nation.

We're also taking the opportunity to launch the new campaigns which we will be conducting on your behalf for the coming year. 

For the next week we'll look at a new topic each day and examine what the parties say they'll do to help - or hinder - your business.


Competition

Alcohol

Support for small business

The Post Office

Tobacco

Crime