Queen’s Speech: retailers welcome tougher sentences for violent offenders


Convenience retailers have welcomed the proposed introduction of a new Sentencing Bill in the Queen’s Speech and has called for further measures to tackle the root causes of retail crime.
The Queen’s Speech has announced a new Sentencing Bill to impose tougher sentences on the most serious and violent offenders.
Charges will be introduced for specified single use plastic items in addition to a deposit return scheme, according to the speech.
The National Living Wage will be increased to two thirds of median hourly earnings and the age threshold for those who qualify will be lowered from 25 to 21 within the next five years.
Employment reform will be in line with commitments set out in the Good Work plan, the speech said.
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: “The introduction of new sentencing laws to deal with violent offenders will be welcome, but there is still much more to be done to ensure that offenders are dealt with before they can commit violent crimes against retailers and their colleagues. We need targeted intervention to stop repeat offenders of so called ‘low level’ crimes so that they don’t feel emboldened to commit more serious and violent crime, and this must start with the scrapping of ineffective fixed penalty notices.”
Ahead of the Queen’s Speech, ACS called on the Government to take action on a range of areas, including crime, the plastic bag charge, business rate reliefs and mitigations on the National Living Wage proposals.
Lowman added: “We are disappointed that the Government has not yet set out details of the extension of the plastic bag charge to all retailers, which is a simple, direct and well supported measure. Any additional charges for single use plastics must be considered with both small and large stores in mind.”
Further details will be published by the Government on each of the measures announced.
A briefing document published by the Government is available here.