Most independents are still making up their minds on how to vote, according to ACS chief executive James Lowman.

In his speech to the ACS Summit 10 on the eve of the General Election, Lowman revealed exclusive polling by the organisation that showed that more than half of independent convenience retailers were yet to make up their mind on who to vote for.

Lowman said: "Even in the last weeks of campaigning, many local shops are still open to being convinced by the political parties that they deserve their support."

The poll, which revealed that 54% of retailers had not yet made up their mind who to vote for, compared to 24% of the general population convered by national opinion polling. Conservative support was at 24%, just short of the national figure of 23%. Meanwhile, both Labour (11%) and the Liberal Democrats (8%) polled lower than national opinion polls.

Lowman also set out what local shops wanted from the new government. He added: "For many it’s not about what colour the new government is, it’s about the specific actions they will take that will help or harm our ability to do business.

"What matters is what government will do and our polling gives a clear mandate for action to the next government. In the election campaign we have been delighted by the amount of support there is for the local shop, with candidates across the country taking the Local Shops Pledge. The challenge we will lay down is for the politicians to match the rhetoric with action.

In ACS polling, the five most important things that retailers wanted from the next Government were:

  • Safeguards against bad practice by energy companies (76%)
  • Restrict the power of supermarkets (69%)
  • Reduce the burden of business rates (62%)
  • Resist increases in business taxes (61%)
  • Tougher action on retail crime (58%

This year’s ACS Summit took place at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole at the NEC on May 5. The themes for the day were vision, creativity, risk and determination.