ACS is now automatically consulted by the government on proposed legislation that will affect smaller stores and has won significant concessions for its members, according to chief executive David Rae. He told delegates at the annual conference that the association's public affairs team had a number of meetings with ministers about forthcoming legislation ­ most recently with Kim Howells about the forthcoming Licensing Bill ­ and had been invited to sit on several government committees which were framing new legislation. Rae said he was pleased the government had listened to evidence on the new flexible working and parental leave legislation, where ACS argued its effects should be restricted to parents with children under five years of age, instead of 18 years of age as originally intended. He said that he was also "reasonably pleased" with the outcome of the task force that had looked into cutting the red tape hampering small businesses. However, he warned that it appeared the Home Office was not backing ACS calls for tax relief on security equipment for stores. ACS has also quickly established a high profile on news retailing since it took over the Multiple Newsagents Association last year, said Rae, and it would soon be submitting evidence to the Office of Fair Trading investigation into news distribution. Rae also launched the association's new web site,, which was acquired when Newsforce Plus was merged into ACS late last year. The site has been enhanced to provide a range of services to members and information relevant to the c-store sector. Rae said ACS would team up with suppliers in its Premier Club to provide retailers with online category management advice via the web site. He also revealed that another two companies, Ginsters and Interbrew, has joined the Premier Club, taking total membership to 16. {{NEWS }}