A prominent Labour MP has said retailers should be more involved in the planning system and greater efforts must be made to ensure there is choice within retail markets at the local level.
This is the view of Dr Phyllis Starkey MP, chair of the Communities and Local Government Committee. She was speaking at a fringe event, organised by the Association of Convenience Stores, at the recent Labour Party Conference in Manchester.
Dr Starkey said: "The planning system should help to ensure choice for retail consumers. Local independent shops are a vital part of that choice."
Also speaking at the event, ACS public affairs director James Lowman said: "Planning should not be distorted to reward those retailers that benefit from scale rather than skill."
The ACS also received strong support at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton. Lowman told 60 delegates that the Competition Commission has a "once in a generation chance" to level the uneven playing field in the grocery market.
The ACS is due to hold a similar event at this week's Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth.