SGF Retail Crime Seminar 2018

Concerns have been raised that the government’s consultation on vaping and tobacco excluded views of anyone linked to the tobacco industry.

Highlighted by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF), the consultation response stated that ministers ‘have not considered the views’ of any organisation or individual that disclosed links to the tobacco industry, when determining their policy response.

SGF expressed concern that this has happened despite retailers having put forward a clear and constructive approach to tackle youth vaping and address environmental concerns as well as highlighting the potential concerns over increase illicit trade and in-store abuse and assaults.

Chief executive Dr Pete Cheema said the views of retailers have been “entirely ignored”. “SGF represents the whole of the Scottish convenience sector, from the smallest city shop to essential rural stores that are lifelines for their community. Yet our views have been entirely ignored,” he said.

“It is true that our members sell tobacco products, but that makes their concerns even more valid. Whether it’s an increase in illicit trade, more potential for flashpoints when serving customers, or the practicalities of delivering these policies in-store.”

He added that the approach was “not right or democratic”.

“Ministers received 28,000 responses to their consultation, which were analysed at break-neck speed, yet the views of SGF and many Scottish retailers have been expunged from the records. That’s not right, or democratic.

“What is even more galling is that SGF put forward a considered a balanced view on behalf of all our members, to work constructively and deliver the best outcome for both retailers and the communities they serve.”