The majority of convenience store owners are leaving it late to make up their minds about which party to vote for, a new survey has revealed.

The Association of Convenience Stores' poll of 200 retailers, conducted in mid-April, revealed that 24% would vote Conservative, 11% Labour and 4% Liberal Democrat, but 54% are not yet sure.

The full results of the survey will be announced by ACS chief executive James Lowman at the association's Summit 10 in Birmingham on May 5.

Lowman told C-Store: "For many it's not about what colour the new government is, it's about the specific actions they will take that will help or harm our ability to do business.

"We have been delighted by the amount of support there is for local shops from election candidates. The challenge is for the politicians to match their rhetoric with action."

Chris Pollard of Barlby Village Stores in Selby, North Yorkshire, suggested that store owners could be reserving judgement until they heard more policies from the parties, particularly on VAT or National Insurance.

The ACS poll revealed strong agreement about the key actions a new government could carry out to help retailers. Safeguards against bad practice by energy companies were considered very important by 76% of respondents, while 62% gave a reduction in the burden of business rates the same rating. Some 61% felt a curb on business taxes was very important, and 58% rated action on retail crime among their top priorities.

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