Brits urged to "shop local" to support SMEs


Date: 11 August 2020

A local shopkeeper welcomes customers to her COVID secure shop

The Government has launched a Shop Local campaign to help support independent shops on UK high streets.

Shoppers across the UK are being urged to do their bit and take part in Shop Local Week (10-16 August) to help local businesses rebuild after the coronavirus lockdown.

The campaign is part of the Government's Enjoy Summer Safely campaign, encouraging people to "get back to the way of life they have missed", while following safety guidelines. Shop Local Week resources, including digital assets for businesses, consumers and organisations, are being distributed to small businesses.

The Government says the initiative will deliver a number of key benefits:

  • Shopping at local businesses pumps money into the local economy;
  • Supporting local high streets creates jobs in local communities;
  • Independent retailers often provide good deals that can't be found in major outlets so that people can save money as they spend. The Eat Out to Help Out discount scheme is saving diners up to £10 per head on eat-in meals on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in 73,000 participating businesses during August;
  • Local businesses generate revenue to support council services such as libraries, parks and roads that benefit communities;
  • Small and local businesses often stock items which are made locally and aren't available elsewhere else;
  • Local shops often source their goods locally, helping to reduce their carbon footprint;
  • When shopping local, people are also more likely to walk or cycle to get there – doing their bit to reduce air pollution and reduce traffic.

Business secretary Alok Sharma said: "Business owners have done an incredible job so far to welcome shoppers back safely, and I hope people across the country will do their bit this week to help our high streets bounce back to protect jobs and support local communities."

Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday UK and founder of Small Business Britain said: "Small businesses are the beating heart of communities and town centres up and down the country, and they will be at the centre of the recovery. These small firms – from the local greengrocer to the neighbourhood gift shop - were there for the nation during lockdown and now they need our support to get back on their feet."

She added: "Small businesses are facing a really tough time, but they are also at the forefront of responding to this challenge and evolving these much-loved centres into places that enrich communities and add value to people's lives. Now is the time to show your local area some love."

Commenting on the scheme, Mike Cherry, national chair of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said: "It's vital, now more than ever, that we do what we can to support our local small businesses. The past few months have been among the most difficult that businesses have ever had and as we slowly reopen, the public can help by supporting their local businesses."

Written by Rachel Miller.

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