Harrow East MP visits local store

Harrow East MP Bob Blackman has paid a visit to local store Canon’s Park Newsagent at Edgware, taking stock of challenges facing the convenience sector.

During the visit, retailer Kunal Patel highlighted the problems with introducing a deposit return scheme in a business without any spare space, either behind the till for a manual system or elsewhere in the store for the installation of a large reverse vending solution.

Patel also spoke of the way that the business rates system currently acts as a barrier to investment, as any improvements made in his store would increase his overall rates bill.

“It is important policymakers understand the complexities of running these multifaceted businesses,” said Blackman.

In Harrow East, there are a total of 42 convenience stores employing around 331 people.

James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, commented: “We are grateful to Mr Blackman for taking the time to visit a local shop in his constituency and listen to the concerns of Kunal Patel.

“The issues raised during the visit are by no means exclusive to this store, and we encourage all MPs to spend time talking to retailers in their constituencies about the challenges facing their businesses.”