Half-term is coming for schoolchildren across the country, but in this issue we thought it was time for a half-term report on the government. C-store retailers have been the jury, and the verdict is pretty clear: could do better, could do a lot better.
While it’s fair to say that driving a political agenda would be easier with a clear majority and a healthy economy, to date the coalition has done nothing for retail. It promised to remove red tape and back wealth-creators, yet so far has introduced more regulation on tobacco (with possibly more to come), and threatened more on alcohol.
At the same time, business rates and the national minimum wage have gone up twice, and the Prime Minister has appeared powerless in the face of rising energy bills and other costs. And, lest we forget, this government has undermined the one piece of legislation that is actually in independent retailers’ favour, the Sunday Trading Act, albeit only temporarily (we hope).
So it’s time for government to stop talking the talk, and instead start walking the walk. Because independent, entrepreneurial businesses such as retailers have the potential to help the nation improve its fortunes. There are more than 40,000 c-stores out there; imagine the impact if each one could employ just one more person each.