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Labour’s small business plan will reduce pharmacies’ burden, says NPA chief

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Labour’s small business plan will reduce pharmacies’ burden, says NPA chief

National Pharmacy Association chief executive Paul Rees has welcomed Labour’s pledge to overhaul the business rates system to rejuvenate the high street in a move he said will reduce the pressure on community pharmacies.

As the general election edges closer, Labour said it plans to help small businesses with a raft of measures, including replacing the business rates system with one “that will level the playing field between the high street and online giants” and cutting energy bills. However, Labour, who said it will give small businesses better access to banking services, has not clarified what it will replace business rates with.

The party also said it would “make the UK the best place to start-up and scale-up by unlocking the supply of finance for businesses looking to grow” and “stamp out late payment of invoices to small businesses”.

Repeating his plea to all parties to reverse the Conservatives’ community pharmacy funding cuts, Rees (pictured) said: “Pharmacies are at the heart of high streets across the country and employ up to 100,000 people, making a significant contribution to local economies. 

“It's positive to see proposals to move some of the business rates burden away from smaller businesses. Anything that reduces the pressure on pharmacies is a move in the right direction given that they face huge financial challenges, with 10 pharmacies closing a week so far this year.”

Numark: Policymakers must 'appreciate wider socio-economic impact of declining pharmacy network'

Numark chairman Harry McQuillan told Independent Community Pharmacist Labour’s promise to support small businesses “could provide a welcome boost for community pharmacies” and urged policymakers to “appreciate the wider socio-economic impact of a declining pharmacy network.”

Referencing a recent poll commissioned by Energy GB which found almost 60 per cent of the public think their “dream high street” must have a “decent pharmacy,” McQuillan said: “The poll findings underline the micro-economic impact pharmacies have in local communities as well as their obvious role in providing easy access to essential healthcare.

“Whilst the latter is of course important, so too is the former. Policymakers need to appreciate the wider socio-economic impact of a declining pharmacy network if they want to reinvigorate the high street as well as delivering improved healthcare outcomes.”


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