‘Give lo­cal firms your Christ­mas busi­ness’

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - War­ren Hardie

Stir­ling politi­cians are urg­ing shop­pers to buy lo­cal in the runup to Christ­mas.

As part of Small Busi­ness Satur­day, MPs and MSPs of all par­ties vis­ited shops in Stir­ling to pro­mote small busi­nesses in the area.

The an­nual event, or­gan­ised by the Fed­er­a­tion of Small Busi­nesses, is part of a grass­roots cam­paign to high­light the suc­cess of small busi­nesses and en­cour­age shop­pers to buy lo­cal.

MSP for Mid-Scotland and Fife Dean Lockart vis­ited, among oth­ers, Our Place Café, Num­ber Eight fash­ion store and Strath­car­ron Hospice char­ity shop in the city cen­tre.

He used the event to tout the Scot­tish Con­ser­va­tives’ new small busi­ness strat­egy which they claim will help to ‘in­cen­tivise’ busi­nesses to stay in their ar­eas.

The ‘Save Our High Streets’ cam­paign ad­vo­cates lower busi­ness rates, sup­port­ing busi­ness im­prove­ment dis­tricts and loos­en­ing plan­ning reg­u­la­tions for the high street.

Mr Lock­hart said: “Vi­brant Scot­tish high streets are cru­cial for com­mu­ni­ties and for busi­nesses all across Scotland.”

He added: “Re­tail­ers on the high street in Stir­ling and around the coun­try are con­tin­u­ing to strug­gle whilst the SNP has done noth­ing. Frankly the com­pla­cency which we have seen from the lo­cal SNP here in Stir­ling to the gen­uine con­cerns of busi­ness own­ers is shame­ful.”

FSB fig­ures show 4250 reg­is­tered busi­nesses in Stir­ling, with al­most nine in ten of those hav­ing fewer than 50 em­ploy­ees. Those firms em­ploy al­most 15,000 peo­ple, and have an an­nual turnover of £1,253 mil­lion.

MP for Stir­ling Bruce Craw­ford also toured the high street on Satur­day, pro­mot­ing the suc­cesses of busi­nesses in the city cen­tre.

He vis­ited Hamil­ton’s Cheese­cakes, Europa Mu­sic, Lov­ing Food restau­rant, and Mint Patis­serie.

Mr Craw­ford spoke of the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s ef­forts to sup­port small busi­nesses: “A change in the way we shop, with a move to on­line pur­chas­ing of goods and take­away food, has brought about real chal­lenges for our high street.

“The Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment is do­ing what it can by lift­ing as many small busi­nesses as pos­si­ble out of pay­ing rates.

“This has meant that over 2,500 busi­nesses in the Stir­ling area pay no rates what­so­ever.”

“How­ever, peo­ple in the area can do their bit by sup­port­ing these busi­nesses. This Christ­mas, sup­port high street busi­nesses and do at least some of your sea­sonal shop­ping in a lo­cal store.”

High­light­ing high street Dean Lock­hart with mem­bers of Strath­car­ron Hospice staff

Busi­ness boost Bruce Craw­ford with Sally McCon­nell, as­sis­tant man­ager of Lov­ing Food

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