Chloe Smith MP has urged consumers to back an annual grassroots campaign that promotes the UK’s small businesses.
The call came after Smith, who is the MP for Norwich North, spent Friday afternoon visiting small firms in her constituency, as part of an event organised by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
Now in its fifth year, Small Business Saturday, which falls on 2 December, aims to celebrate the contribution of the UK’s 5.5mn small firms. Many of these businesses will encourage consumers to shop locally on the day by hosting special events and offering discounts.
Ahead of the day, Smith visited a number of FSB members in her constituency – including Norwich Glass Company, H Tech Styling, and Kerrison Toys – to hear about their businesses and the challenges that they face.
Business rates and the consequences of the UK’s departure from the EU were among the topics discussed. The business owners also spoke about the difficulties that they had confronted in attracting and retaining skilled recruits.
Chloe said: “It was a real pleasure to visit such great small, local businesses ahead of Small Business Saturday. I'm regularly in touch with companies and employers in Norwich - for example, through my Norwich for Jobs project - and as a passionate supporter of small businesses, I would encourage everyone, where possible, to support small businesses. It's not just on Small Business Saturday, but is easy to do all year round. Small businesses are vitally important to the local economy and employ thousands of local people. A switch to buying from a small local business can do great things for our city.”
FSB East Anglia Chair Salena Dawson, who attended the event alongside Smith, said: “It was great to get Chloe’s backing for Small Business Saturday, and we hope that the region’s other MPs will be equally supportive of the campaign.
“Now more than ever, given the troubled economic outlook, it isvital that small businesses across the region ensure that their voices are heard by the key decision-makers.
“As an organisation, we will continue to campaign on the issues that our members raised with Chloe – in particular the skills challenge, as it is clear that many small firms are struggling to recruit the talent they need at present.”