Although a TV comedy series, The League of Gentlemen was responsible for coining the phrase; “This is a local shop for local people” but how important is the word ‘local’ when it comes to the business in your Royston Vasey?
We live in an age where may things are ‘virtual’, where almost anything we wish to purchase is available via the internet and, where businesses are run with a the deadly ethic of globalisation… But big is not always best…
The overall decline in local services and businesses is having a profound and negative impact upon our communities. The lifeblood of our town centres is draining away and every small town has shop after shop that is either vacant or boarded up. And all at a time when the life expectancy of our society is longer than it has ever been, the negative effects upon the older members of our society are even worse.
Older people are not as mobile as the younger ones, many don’t drive any more due to the expense of keeping a vehicle or due to failing health issues etc and, public transport is often limited or even nonexistent in many areas. Older people often simply don’t have the ability to travel miles to obtain food and basic supplies. The problem is, many people of a ‘certain age’ are simply written off by the rest of our society and consequently, they are not considered important. Many forget that we all get old eventually (hopefully) however; many also don’t have enough forward vision to contemplate their future. But the problems are not just impacting upon the elderly, in reality we are all suffering.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), the UK’s largest group promoting and protecting the interests of the self-employed and owners of small firms, would say the term ‘local’ is extremely important. With some 210,000 members across 33 regions and 194 branches, I think you could realistically assume, they have a comprehensive grasp of the situation. Let’s look at some of the facts…
- In 2009 19,077 businesses closed, compared to 15,535 in 2008 and 12,507 in 2007
- 12,000 independent shops closed in 2009
- 39 pubs closed every week in 2009
- In the first three months of 2010 twice as many bars and pubs closed compared to the same time in 2009
- The average person travels 893 miles a year to shop for food
- £7 out of every £10 spent on groceries in Britain goes into the supermarket tills
- 50-70 percent of money spent in the local economy stays in the local economy
The FSBs Keep Trade Local campaign seeks to stem the tide of business closures; reverse the trend of decline of independent shops and defend the choice and diversity that customers deserve. During this period of austerity and high levels of economic decline, the government are looking towards the private sector and small businesses to help bail the country out of the crap we’re in.
To ensure a viable future, for independent shops and businesses on and off the high streets in the UK, the FSB is now working harder than ever to reassert the voice of small businesses at every level of government (see the Manifesto).
Isn’t it important that we all try to support our local businesses, now and for our future?
- Small firms ‘need weather help’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Budget 2011: Small businesses campaign against rates and fuel duty (telegraph.co.uk)
- MoD ‘overlooking’ smaller firms (bbc.co.uk)