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    Fed welcomes commitment to ‘keep communities safe’; vows to fight for security grants for small shops  

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    The Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) has vowed to keep up the pressure on the government to provide grants to improve security in smaller shops.

    In his first speech at the state opening of parliament, King Charles said his government “will act to keep communities safe from crime and anti-social behaviour”.

    He added: “A Bill will be brought forward to ensure tougher sentences for the most serious offenders and increase the confidence of victims.”

    The Fed recently launched its Safe, Secure, Supported campaign demanding financial help for independent shops to increase their safety through better CCTV and other security measures, in the midst of rising incidents of shoplifting and abuse.

    “We are pleased that tackling crime and anti-social behaviour was included in the King’s speech, but this must be followed up with real action,” Muntazir Dipoti, rhe Fed’s national president, said.

     “Retail crime has reached epidemic proportions in recent months and we urge the government to provide an immediate and meaningful response to this growing issue.”

    As expected, the King’s speech also reiterated the government’s intention to clamp down on under- age smoking.

    King Charles said: “My government will introduce legislation to create a smoke-free generation by restricting the sale of tobacco so that children currently aged 14 or younger can never be sold cigarettes and restricting the sale and marketing of e-cigarettes to children.”

    Commenting, Dipoti added: “While we wholeheartedly agree that children should not have access to tobacco and other nicotine products, this must not be to the detriment of adults who want to give up smoking.

    “We are also concerned that banning items such as single use vapes will merely drive sales underground, giving unscrupulous black marketeers more opportunity to profit by selling vapes and e-cigarettes to minors.”

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