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Trade bodies step up fight to protect smaller shops

Published:  26 January, 2011

Trade bodies are stepping up their fight to protect smaller shops and sustainable high streets.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is campaigning for a statutory duty to be introduced as part of the  Localism Bill, which is at Committee stage in the House of Commons, to promote sustainable high streets.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "Acting now will ensure our high streets are secure for the next generation. Without this law, we are in danger of allowing an out of town supermarket free-for-all that could cause irreparable damage to the very communities that are the heart of the Big Society agenda."

Meanwhile, MPs on the Save the Pub Group have called for changes in planning law which would protect community assets, such as pubs. Currently a loophole allows such "assets" to be demolished or changed use without planning permission and without the community having a say.

North of the border the Scottish Government plans to increase business rates for large retailers, which could see them paying up to 15p in the pound a year extra. The levy is expected to raise around £30 million.

But the Scottish Retailer Consortium is calling on the government to drop the levy which it claims "proposes financial penalties for success".