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Ahead of tomorrow’s London mayoral elections (Thursday, May 2), the National President of the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) met with Independent candidate Tarun Ghulati to lay bare the key pressures that members in the capital face.

During the online meeting on Friday (April 26), Muntazir Dipoti explained how record levels of shoplifting, rising business costs and legislative challenges were taking their toll on London’s convenience store owners and newsagents.

Mr Ghulati shared details of some of the key policies from his election manifesto, including ensuring that Londoners feel safe, secure and empowered, have opportunities for growth and how he plans to get the capital moving again by abolishing the Ultra Low Emission Zone.  Sharing the Fed’s concern about poor police responses to crime incidents, he pledged to reopen police stations in high crime areas.

After the meeting Mr Dipoti said: “It is vital that independent retailers get support at a local level to tackle the myriad challenges they are facing, from shoplifting offences hitting a record high through to sky high operating costs and increased red tape.  I would like to thank Mr Ghulati for taking the time to meet so we could discuss the challenges that Fed members are facing on a daily basis and to explore the ways in which we could work together to protect those who serve our London communities.”

Mr Ghulati said: “I am very pained to see our hard-working retailers suffer on so many fronts. They should be focussed on their businesses, and it is incumbent on elected representatives to ensure their well-being. I promise to bring down business rates, tackle crime with a fervour never seen before and work closely with Fed members to ensure businesses thrive.  I am actively engaged with communities and businesses and will bring transformational change to the lives of our independent retailers who work tirelessly and are the backbone of our communities.”

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