The Tobacco Retailers Alliance (TRA) has criticised the government for only making its consultation documents on proposals for plain tobacco packaging available in English and Welsh.
Retailers are calling on the government to extend the consultation period so non-English and Welsh speakers have the same opportunity to put their views forward.
Suleman Khonat, a Blackburn shopkeeper and the north-west spokesman for the TRA, said: “All of the UK’s corner shopkeepers will be affected if standardised packaging is introduced and for a good many of them, English is not their first language.
“The consultation documents are wordy and lengthy and could be intimidating even for those fluent in English, let alone those who are not. It seems most unfair that such a sizeable group of people all of whom will potentially be affected by this issue should not be given the same access to the information as everyone else.”
Ken Patel, a Leicester shopkeeper and the West Midlands spokesman for the TRA, said: “If the government listens to us and prepares the documents in other languages such as Gujarati, Urdu and Tamil, then those who speak those languages should be given the same full three-month period in which to respond to the issue.
“It is not right that the speakers of these languages should have less time to put their views across than those who speak English,” he said.