Small businesses are the backbone of our economy
ONCE again the small shops in the Chesham and Amersham constituency have been promoting the excellent service they give as part of the Small Business Saturday event. Little Chalfont was just one of the places where shopkeepers took part. All across the country, there have been events to remind everyone what we are very aware of locally – that these small enterprises play an enormous role in ensuring the vitality of the economy.
Did you know that small businesses make up 99 per cent of all businesses in the UK? That shows just how important they are. Supporting them can make all the difference to our traditional high streets. They also make a huge contribution to employment, because nationwide about 15 million people are employed in small businesses.
In the run-up to Small Business Saturday, I visited local shopkeeper Carol Morris, who has run her hardware store in Hill Avenue, Amersham, for 30 years. Carol started off her business, which is open 365 days a year, with the help of a business development grant. She has never looked back and her business epitomises the way that small businesses are the backbone of our economy.
I was pleased that, in the autumn statement in the first week of December, the chancellor of the exchequer recognised the importance of small businesses when increasing the small business rate relief to £1,500 in April 2015.
The recent debate about Small Business Saturday in Westminster Hall revealed some interesting research. First, for every £1 spent in a local independent business, 60 pence goes straight back into our local economy. Second, people who live near small shops are 16 per cent more likely to be positive about the local high street than those who live in areas which lack independent stores. Third, people who live in areas with a high proportion of independent small shops are twice as likely to say hello to other people on their high street.
Supporting local high streets and independent businesses can bring about hugely positive results.