The Rural Shops Alliance is "way ahead of anything else on the rural retail scene" in becoming an advocate for local stores claims manager Sean Carter. As Prince Charles unveiled Business in the Community's Action Plan for Rural Communities, Carter said RSA fieldworkers were already helping rural communities to add shop and PO services to village halls and pubs. The Rural Shops Alliance, which was launched late last year, now has 1,100 members. It has gained blanket membership in the south east by signing up the Rural Community Councils of Oxfordshire, Kent, Surrey and Buckinghamshire. And it is well into negotiations to sign up other Rural Community Councils nationwide, said Carter. The RSA has also started to work with the Small Business Service to give it a steer on the rural retail sector. The recent government Better Regulation Taskforce report recommends the SBS steps up activity. Carter said: "The Taskforce report is one of the most close to the mark and proactive I've seen for a long time. We will be doing a lot of work with SBS so it understands and can meet the needs of the small retail sector." {{NEWS }}