The National Association of Health Stores (NAHS) has launched a new petition in a bid to lobby Government to grant health food shops a dispensation on business rates.
In the petition, it states that independent health stores play a vital role in supporting preventative health, saving the NHS millions of pounds annually. The petition goes on to say that as valuable assets which invest in the health of their local communities, health stores deserve the same recognition and dispensation of £1,000 currently awarded to public houses.
Speaking to Health Food Business, NAHS Chairman, Gary Trickett, explained that for some time, the NAHS has been planning how to promote health stores to the Government and NHS to have them recognised for their vital role of supporting preventative health, adding that the NHS is reaching a crisis point and it believes it must now utilise resources that currently exist to help take the pressure off this valuable service; numerous scientific studies have shown that improving diet and lifestyle choices play a huge part in disease management and we believe that the time has come to recognise the part highly trained health stores can play in improving the health of the nation.
When it was then discovered that pubs are offered a £1,000 dispensation off their business rates, the NAHS felt it had to fight for the same dispensation for independent health stores, whilst at the same time raising their profile at Government level.
“Is it right that public houses should be offered a £1,000 business rates dispensation in recognition of their value to local communities, whilst independent health stores, who play a vital role in supporting preventative health in their local communities, potentially saving the NHS millions of pounds each year, are not offered the same dispensation?” Gary commented.
“We don’t think so and that is why we have set up this petition. We need 100,000 signatures and that means we can’t do it alone so we are calling on every single health store in the country to work to promote this petition. We can do it, but we do need their help; 100,000 signatures is a lot of signatures but we hope that everyone in our industry believes passionately that health stores deserve a dispensation and to be recognised for their commitment to public health.”
A total of 100,000 signatures are needed for it be to debated in Parliament.