The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has pledged to campaign for action on eight key issues affecting independent newsagents over the next 12 months as part of its latest manifesto.

Key areas of concern include retail crime, regulation, business rates and alcohol - although top of the list is for the newspaper and magazine sector to be referred to the Competition Commission for a full investigation. The OFT is expected to announce by the end of 2011 whether it plans to review the sector.

As part of the pledge, the NFRN said it would campaign for the abolition of carriage charges, the removal of cover prices and the creation of a service-level agreement to maintain access to newspapers and magazines.

"The industry is dominated by over-mighty publishers who pursue narrow self-interest objectives," said NFRN national president Kieran McDonnell. "Far from addressing the issues the OFT identified as being likely to restrict or distort competition, in the past two years the position has become worse."

Other pledges involve the Localism Act, planning issues and age-restricted products, with calls for proxy purchasing and attempted purchasing by underage people to be made illegal. 

"While there can be no leniency for persistently irresponsible retailers, there remains a great deal of confusion among small business owners in particular as to what the law is," said McDonnell.