Last month, I met with local Edinburgh retailer Dennis Williams (pictured left) at the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS)Heart of the Community•reception to celebrate the important role that local shops play in our communities.

ACSHeart of the Community•is an annual event which brings retailers from across the country face-to-face with MPs to air their concerns about the future of the sector.

Local shops provide essential goods and services in our communities and it is vital that MPs show support for these retailers both in Westminster and the local area -; they really are at the heart of communities.• Government must to everything they can to ensure that they succeed during this difficult economic time.

I also met with•ACS Chief Executive James Lowman (pictured right), who•welcomed my support in recognising the importance of convenience stores like Dennis’ and the services and jobs they provide in Edinburgh.• 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.

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