Meon Valley MP Flick Drummond has thrown her support behind more help for rural convenience stores following a report that showed they are facing multiple challenges.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Rural Shop Report said government assistance is needed to tackle retail crime and shop theft by acknowledging the unique factors such as limited police presence and extended response times.

The report also said access to cash was important as there is lower digital banking usage in rural areas.

More investment in digital infrastructure was another request. 

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Mrs Drummond has campaigned for better mobile and broadband coverage across the Meon Valley, however the report said there was a need to bridge the gap to ensure that rural businesses can equally benefit from digital advancements.

She said: “There is no doubt that in a rural constituency like Meon Valley, rural shops – often independent or community run - are important.

“They are often the only lifeline for local communities, providing essential goods and services, like a Post Office, and also a sense of community and a focal point to meet.

“But the nearly 18,000 rural convenience stores in mainland UK are facing headwinds especially as shoplifting continues to rise and the digital rollout can be frustrating as I have found with my own campaign to connect villages.

“I will certainly continue to highlight rural stores, rural crime and the rural economy, including access to cash in rural areas, and I will speak to ministers about this important report.”