Health Stores UK highlights the vital role that health stores can play with General Election Checklist

In order to emphasise the critical role health stores can play in enhancing the nation’s health, Health Stores UK has developed a pledge card-style General Election Checklist.

The ten-point Checklist outlines the public health and business support priorities that Health Stores UK members believe should be addressed by the next Government.

Announcing the Checklist this week, Health Stores UK chair, Len Glenville, said: “Next month’s General Election comes at a crucial time for independent retailers. Latest BRC IQ data shows that footfall is continuing to fall and that many small retailers face an uncertain future. Politicians of all political colours have pledged support for local high streets but what we need now is concrete action. At the same time, the UK’s health services are stretched to the limit as they struggle to deal with an epidemic of chronic ill health, much of it diet and lifestyle related.

“At Health Stores UK, we believe there is huge opportunity to recognise and promote health food stores as national ‘health enablers’, providing a valuable resource in local communities across the country. Our General Election Checklist highlights the vital role that health stores can play in improving the health of the nation, and shows how the next Government can support them in this vital role.

“We will be sending a personal copy of our Checklist to the incoming Prime Minister and Health Secretary as soon as they take office.”

These are the issues Health Stores UK will be asking the new Government to act on:

Public Health and Wellbeing 

  • Recognise health food stores as playing a central role in improving the health of the nation, working alongside NHS and public health services – and support accordingly
  • Streamline regulation to increase access to a wider range of safe and valuable natural health products
  • Ensure future regulation of supplements, herbals and nutritional food products reflects the needs of UK consumers
  • Appoint a Self-Care Tsar to promote the benefits of taking personal responsibility for health and wellbeing
  • Introduce a lower rate of VAT for food supplements

Retailer and business support 

  • Set zero or reduced business rates for independent health food stores in recognition of their contribution to national health
  • Take decisive action to level the playing field for small retail businesses
  • Ensure that all future legislation affecting labour and overhead costs for SMEs is SME appropriate
  • Launch reinvigorated national ‘Shop Local’ campaign, explaining how shopping locally retains more money in local economies, provides more jobs, strengthens local communities and is better for the environment
  • Create bespoke retail apprenticeships to help with recruitment and make it more appealing to work in retail