The Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) and the independent convenience store sector in Scotland recently achieved a major breakthrough in its political engagement work. Holyrood has given its backing to a proposal from SGF and MSP Gordon MacDonald to establish a Scottish Parliament Cross-Party Group (CPG) on independent convenience stores.

For the past 12 months SGF has been working closely with MacDonald to get the group up and running. In a major step forward, the CPG held its inaugural meeting in Parliament in September. The meeting itself was extremely successful both in terms of SGF stakeholders who attended and in terms of support from MSPs. Support from at least three MSPs is required for CPGs to be approved, but in fact 11 MSPs registered to become members of the group.

Despite this the Standing Orders of the Scottish Parliament required that the CPG had to be officially approved by Parliament itself. However, recognising the success of the inaugural meeting, the Scottish Parliament has now approved the establishment of the group. Gordon MacDonald MSP was appointed Convenor with my colleague John Lee, SGF head of public affairs, appointed to head up the Group Secretariat.

This is the first time a retail-focused group has been set up within the Scottish Parliament. It will provide a unique platform for MSPs to engage with retailers on the key issues affecting the retail industry in Scotland. Our hope is that the group will enable retailers begin to shape and influence the political agenda in Scotland.