The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has outlined issues it would like to see addressed in political parties’ manifestoes, after Prime Minister Theresa May announced plans to hold a General Election on June 8.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The election will be an opportunity for all parties to set out in manifesto pledges how they intend to support local shops in the next parliamentary term.

First, it is essential that action is taken to reform the business rates system and help retailers to invest. We’re also keen to ensure that environmental issues are addressed through effective policies to reduce waste that don’t overburden local shops, and believe that extending the carrier bag charge to all retailers would be a beneficial, simple and effective solution.”

He added: “We do not believe that the minimum wage and living wage rates should be used as a bargaining tool to gain votes at the expense of hard working entrepreneurs and community businesses, and will encourage all parties to allow the Low Pay Commission to lead an independent process of setting wage rates.”

He said other issues that ACS believed should be priorities were:

• ensuring that crimes against retailers and their staff are taken seriously by the justice system and local police forces;

• strengthening the government’s commitment to tackling the illicit trade on the ground in both alcohol and tobacco; and

• introducing stronger, enforceable standards of conduct for energy companies when dealing with small businesses.