The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has launched a campaign manifesto identifying eight key subject areas where it will be focusing its lobbying activity.

As well as campaigning for change in the news trade - where the NFRN is calling for a referral of the market to the Competition Commission, the abolition of carriage charges and the removal of cover prices - the Federation is also asking for more action on retail crime, including formal recognition of businesses as crime victims.

Other campaign areas include red tape, planning, business rates, age-restricted products, below-cost selling of alcohol and the devolution of powers under the government’s Localism Bill. The manifesto document was launched at a special reception at the House of Commons last week, hosted by MP David Amess and attended by several of his parliamentary colleagues.

Speaking at the event, NFRN national president Kieran McDonnell said: “Good, local independent shops are at the heart of thousands of communities around the country, and we have the potential to make a major contribution to the country if we are given the opportunity, yet all too often we find ourselves disadvantaged. We do not seek special treatment, just a fair opportunity to trade.

“As Xavier Rolet, ceo of the London Stock Exchange, recently observed, it’s a far easier objective for each of the UK’s 4.8 million small businesses to employ one extra person than for each of the FTSE 100 to employ another 48,000.”

In reply, Amess urged all MPs to get behind the manifesto and back their local shops. “Rome is burning,” he said. “Small retailers don’t work a 38-hour week, they work a 138-hour week and we can’t take them for granted. They need your help and support now.”