An agreement which will provide the convenience store sector with greater degree of political clout has been reached by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) and the Scottish Grocers' Federation (SGF).

The two trade organisations have pooled their lobbying powers to make more of an impact in Westminster and Holyrood. The associations' aim is to benefit from each other's expertise while maintaining their autonomy.

The arrangement will give the ACS representation in Scottish debates on tobacco and alcohol laws that could have a bearing on future policies in England and Wales. SGF members will similarly be able to make more of a contribution in Westminster.

"Trade associations in our sector have to work closely together in order to exert maximum influence," said ACS chief executive James Lowman. "This is a common sense move that will strengthen both organisations and give members a louder and clearer voice in all the debates that affect them." 

"This is a time of great political change," added SGF chief executive John Drummond. "A new prime minister and new Scottish Executive require a new approach to lobbying."