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    HFSS: SGF calls for protection for small businesses

    Photo: iStock

    The Scottish Grocers Federation has urged Scottish ministers to ensure that the measures introduced on Tuesday to restrict the promotion of some food and drink don’t disproportionally impact small businesses.   

    The proposals set out a range of measures to limit the marketing of foods High in Fat, Sugar or Salt, including restricting temporary price reductions, meal deals and in-store locations, such as end of aisle, beside checkouts and near the front door.

    The trade body welcomed the exemptions for retailers with fewer than 50 staff, and location exemptions for stores smaller than 2,000 square feet but warned that those hit by the regulations could be put at a significant disadvantage. 

    For example, the SGF have called for the Scottish Government to make it clear that independent stores that trade under common facia but are otherwise independent are not targeted by these restrictions.

    “Many Scottish convenience stores provide vital lifeline services for their communities. That is why we share the goal of promoting healthy choices and improving the wellbeing of those communities,” Pete Cheema SGF chief executive, said.

    “However, while we welcome the exemptions for businesses with fewer than 50 staff and under 2,000 square feet, this is an extremely challenging time for retailers and further restrictions are hard to swallow. Many of our members are facing a range of higher costs, including increased energy prices and inflation, alongside a rising tide of new regulation.

    “Placing an additional burden on struggling stores at this time will mean that customers inevitably must pay more for their shopping, and businesses are less viable overall. For that reason, we strongly believe that the exemption for location restrictions should be increased to 3,000 square feet. As we have called for throughout the process. 

    “We are also concerned that these proposals could have a significant and disproportional impact on some small Scottish producers. Many of whom are a celebrated part of the Scottish food and drink sector.

    “Over the coming weeks, we will be studying the detail of the proposals and developing a set of robust recommendations to ensure the voice of the convenience sector in Scotland is heard.”

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