The proposed introduction of a new Sentencing Bill in the Queen’s Speech has been welcomed by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), and it has called for further measures to tackle the root causes of retail crime.
The Queen’s Speech sets out the Government’s priorities for the coming parliamentary session. Measures announced include:
• a new Sentencing Bill to impose tougher sentences on the most serious and violent offenders;
• introducing charges for specified single-use plastic items in addition to a deposit return scheme;
• an intention to increase the National Living Wage to two thirds of median hourly earnings and lower the age threshold for those who quality from 25 to 21 within the next five years;
• employment reform in line with commitments set out in the Good Work plan.
ACS chief executive James Lowman 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.
Mr Lowman continued: “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.”