The government has announced it will mandate a national recharging network

for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

The move was unveiled as part of the new coalition agreement published today. Among the other policies in the 34-page document were the goverment’s commitment to the introduction of a Grocery Ombudsman, the decision to ban the sale of alcohol below cost price, and the plan to increase the employer National Insurance thresholds originally proposed by the Conservatives.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said it welcomed the ’positive agenda’ of the new coalition and pledged to work with the government to help implement its agenda for change.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "This is a positive agenda and we want to play a full part in helping the government to deliver against it. Our role is to work closely with ministers and officials to make sure that the rhetoric is matched by practical policies that benefit communities and the local shops that serve them."

The ACS said it had identified some key areas of the agreement that were particularly relevant to local shops.

On the grocery market:

Lowman said: "We have been campaigning for action to ensure that the grocery market is a level playing field where retailers of all kinds can compete hard to deliver the best service and choice to consumers. The new Government commitment to the introduction of a Grocery Ombudsman and a local competition test for retail planning applications are a breakthrough in our campaigning work.

"These are exciting opportunities and ACS will make every effort to assist government in making sure they deliver on the ambition to deliver a level playing field in our vitally important grocery industry."

On alcohol policy:

Lowman said many local shops would welcome the decision to ban below cost selling of alcohol having suffered the anti-competitive effects of aggressive supermarket pricing strategies.

He added: "We still think there is work to be done to understand how this measure will actually help to prevent binge or problem drinking, but we will play a constructive role in the development of policy."


The full coalition agreement document can be found at: