Sir Gerald attended a reception held by Farnborough-based trade association, the Association of Convenience Stores, which represents 33,500 convenience stores across the country. The ACS holds an annual ‘Heart of the Community’ reception at Parliament to celebrate the important role that local shops play in our communities.
Sir Gerald said: “Local shops provide essential goods and services in our communities. People often complain when their corner shop closes, but unless we all support them they will not be there. They avoid the need for travel to larger stores, saving petrol, and are a lifeline for the elderly.”
ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “We welcome Sir Gerald’s support in recognising the importance of the convenience stores and the services and jobs they provide in Aldershot, Farnborough and Blackwater. Businesses face many competing challenges, from rising rates and energy bills to increasing pressure from small format supermarkets. It is now more important than ever that MPs engage with their local small business community, and work to ensure Government cuts and new regulations will not harm small business or undermine consumer confidence.”
The latest ACS Local Shop Report has shown that overall, convenience stores in Farnborough and Aldershot employ over 480 people of all age groups and with a variety of care commitments.