The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged chancellor Rishi Sunak to remove upcoming HFSS regulations and prioritise regulating illicit alcohol and tobacco markets.
The association emphasised that regulating high fat, salt and sugar products cost over £92 million, including the extra millions invested in arm enforcement officers to ensure stores are compliant.
Instead, ACS has asked the government to redirect funding to “cracking down on the illicit alcohol and tobacco markets that cost retailers and the government billions every year”.
The advice comes as retailers gear up to accommodate for HFSS policy – which will be enforced from October 2022.
Additional recommended measures include freezing alcohol and tobacco duties to avoid black market activities, freezing fuel duty and freezing business rates.
The ACS has also suggested removing VAT from deposit return schemes deposits and giving the Low pay Commission the freedom to set minimum and living rates independent of political targets.
“Our recommendations to the government set out a comprehensive set of measures that would provide real support to local shops at a time when many are considering whether they will still be able to keep the lights on in 12 months’ time,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.
“This is not the time to be heaping additional costs onto retailers – this is the time to create the conditions to ensure that retailers and their colleagues can continue serving their communities and play their part in the UK’s long term recovery from the economic shock of the last two years.”