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Congratulating Sir Keir Starmer on his General Election victory last week, the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) is calling for action and not just words when it comes to protecting independent retailers and their communities from soaring crime.

In its election manifesto, the Labour Party pledged to make attacking a retail worker a standalone offence and putting thousands more bobbies on the beat to crack down on anti-social crimes.

The so called £200 rule, whereby some police forces do not pursue cases where a theft is valued below £200, would also be scrapped.

The Fed’s National President Mo Razzaq said: “We look forward to working with the new government to ensure that independent retailers can continue to play a key role in their communities but ask that it keeps to the pledges that it made in its manifesto, particularly with regard to tackling retail crime.

“The Fed campaigned successfully in Scotland for the establishment of a standalone offence for those who abuse or use violence against retail workers and we have been lobbying the UK government for years for better protection for those who work in shops, for any form of attacks on shop workers to be taken more seriously and for the penalties for those who commit such crimes to be more stringent.”

Mr Razzaq further urged the government to speed up the introduction of a deposit return scheme (DRS) for single-use bottles and cans across the UK.

He said: “Under the previous government DRS was sidelined. The Fed has always supported the introduction of a DRS that works for businesses and consumers which is why we are keen to see legislation that will progress this at the earliest opportunity.”

Labour has said that it plans to hit the ground running and introduce new employment legislation in parliament within its first 100 days in power. In its manifesto, it said that it wants to remove age bands for the national living wage.

Commenting, Mr Razzaq said: “As responsible employers, we want to pay our staff a fair wage for a fair day’s work. However, it should be borne in mind that many small shops are struggling to cope with soaring costs. Removing age bands for the NLW could well be the tipping point for those independent retailers who are fighting to stay in business in the current economic climate.”

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