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How we're helping to save the NHS

Len Glenville
Chair, National Association of Health Stores

There's good news on the horizon, with government and NHS finally realising what this industry has been saying for many years, that the NHS isn't a health service, it's a service for the sick and that we must encourage the public to adopt healthier lifestyles to prevent over-reliance on our NHS.

Indeed, Health Secretary Sajid Javid recently said that the government can't keep raising taxes to fund the service with 40% of funding currently being spent on preventable illnesses.

So, it's good news that following continuous lobbying by NAHS to the Royal Society of Public Health, we are currently liaising with the NHS Confederation to discuss partnering with them to recognise health food stores as legitimate partners to help promote healthy lifestyles to the community.

Over the past few years NAHS has joined the call for the government to review business rates, which they did, but concluded that, as rates fund vital local services, there is no alternative with widespread support that would raise sufficient revenue to replace them. However, the call for an online sales tax (OST) that could be used to rebalance the tax system, funding business rates relief for the retail sector is loud and clear.

Given the significant changes in the retail market and shift online, it is right that the government reassesses the taxation of this sector, and as such it is currently considering the case for and against implementing such a tax, assessing the effects on consumers and businesses before deciding whether to proceed with an OST.

Of course, if it were adopted, its design would not be straightforward and NAHS is currently putting together a survey for all health food stores, the results of which will be sent to the Government Review.

We want to hear your views on several central questions including which transactions would be taxable; the different forms an OST could take; and how to define an online sale reflecting the range of transaction, delivery, and collection options. The survey will be sent to all health food stores and we hope that you will assist us in completing it.

We are so excited that after 2 years, Natural Products Europe is returning to Excel at the beginning of April. This important event has been sorely missed and we can't wait to see you all there. Visit us on stand K53 to find a fabulous selection of exhibition offers designed to promote your business and save you money, or just drop by for a seat and a chat; either way, we're looking forward to seeing you there.

The NAHS committee is committed to ensuring that independent health food stores are given the full recognition they deserve and have access to all of the tools they require to make a success of their businesses, but we do need the support of retailers to achieve this.

Join us for as little as £21 per month by monthly direct debit or annually via the 'Sign Up' button on our website and together we can drive our industry forward.

Contact [email protected] or call 01875 341408 for further details.

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