Small busi­nesses must be sup­ported

Rutherglen Reformer - - Job Spot -

De­spite the aw­ful weather, it was en­cour­ag­ing to see so many peo­ple brave the el­e­ments to make it out to their lo­cal shops for Small Busi­ness Satur­day at the week­end.

I took the op­por­tu­nity to start my own Christ­mas shop­ping.

I even bought a beau­ti­ful scarf for my­self in Le Sorelle in Burn­side, which I can’t wait to wear in Par­lia­ment.

If any­one is short of a se­cret Santa idea I’d sug­gest pop­ping in and check­ing their range of lo­cal pat­ter mugs, in­clud­ing the ‘Did ye, aye?’ and the ‘Burn­side beauty’.

Round the cor­ner in Sweet P there are some truly beau­ti­ful and very taste­ful Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions that I gen­uinely haven’t seen else­where. If your house needs some ex­tra fes­tive cheer then I’d rec­om­mend a visit.

I sought refuge from the rain dur­ing my day of shop­ping and ended up in the Tea Bay on Cam­bus­lang Main Street, run by lo­cal lady An­ge­line.

This is a prime ex­am­ple of why we should sup­port lo­cal busi­ness. Whilst larger busi­nesses make char­i­ta­ble do­na­tions, smaller lo­cal busi­nesses truly understand lo­cal is­sues and what it takes to re­gen­er­ate an area.

An­ge­line do­nates left­over pro­duce at the end of the day to lo­cal home­less peo­ple and in the new year in­tends to start hold­ing in­for­mal classes in the shop to help teach peo­ple vi­tal bud­get­ing skills.

It was a plea­sure to stop by the Tea Bay for a cof­fee and to have a chat about lo­cal is­sues.

I know that sounds like a bit of a politi­cian cliche but it really does en­able me to be so much more ef­fec­tive at do­ing the job I’ve been elected to do.

Small busi­nesses are the back­bone of our econ­omy and the day is much more than a photo op­por­tu­nity or public­ity stunt.

It’s about re­con­nect­ing with traders and re­al­is­ing how you can make a dif­fer­ence to your lo­cal econ­omy.

Last year £504 mil­lion was spent in small busi­nesses across the UK on the day. It’s es­ti­mated that for ev­ery £1 spent lo­cally, 50p goes back into the com­mu­nity, com­pared to 5p when shop­ping at a large multi­na­tional.

I’m not ad­vo­cat­ing that we all turn our backs on big busi­ness but even small changes in shop­ping habits can make a huge col­lec­tive dif­fer­ence.

Ben­e­fit Sanc­tions

Last Wed­nes­day I popped out of the de­bate on Syr­ian air strikes for a lit­tle while to take part in a de­bate on ben­e­fit sanc­tions in West­min­ster Hall.

The cur­rent regime is strictly and rigidly en­forced by the cur­rent Tory gov­ern­ment and many peo­ple are fall­ing foul through no fault of their own.

There needs to be a se­ri­ous re­assess­ment of the cur­rent sys­tem, in­clud­ing how hard­ship pay­ments op­er­ate.

At the minute peo­ple can­not even ap­ply for hard­ship un­til two weeks into the sanc­tion.

This is a sys­tem to­tally lack­ing in any form of com­pas­sion and lead­ing peo­ple to des­ti­tu­tion.

I’m proud to back my col­league Tas­mina Ahmed-Sheikh’s pri­vate mem­ber’s bill, which would see an au­to­matic en­ti­tle­ment to hard­ship for those sanc­tioned.

In this day and age, though, it really shouldn’t be needed.

Small busi­nesses are the back­bone of our econ­omy

Visit Mar­garet Fer­rier with An­ge­line and Lucy at the Tea Bay

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