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'Buy Local' call to back small businesses in Devon and Cornwall

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 02, 2013

By Graeme Demianyk, WMN London Editor, Twitter: @graemedemianyk

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A Westcountry MP has urged families to support local shops during Small Business Saturday – Britain's first-ever dedicated day to support the nation's five million small firms.

Anne Marie Morris, Conservative MP for Newton Abbot in Devon, has said using local shops, local traders and eating at local restaurants will show small firms "we are there for you".

The backbencher was speaking during a House of Commons debate she led in which the Government was urged to target its support to the very smallest businesses.

December 7 will mark Britain's debut Small Business Saturday, when consumers are urged to turn their backs on the big chains for a day.

The brainchild of Labour Shadow Business Secretary, Chuka Umunna, but boasting cross-party support, the idea began in America three years ago to help small firms survive competition from bigger rivals. It was a factor in boosting the turnover of small businesses by £3.5 billion.

The Western Morning News has for more than a decade called for readers to back Westcountry businesses through our "Buy Local" campaigns.

Ms Morris, a long-standing champion of small firms, said in the Commons: "Small businesses drive our economy. They are what create growth. In terms of employment, new employment this year has been driven two-thirds from the SME (small and medium enterprise) community, not from the big boys.

"But I believe that what we need is a strategy that supports that across all Government departments – which recognises the importance of small businesses and supports them.

"We need a strategy, we need a culture change and we need national pride, written broadly that small businesses are key, they matter and we as a Government support them.

"The Government has a good record but it tends in its proposals and measures to look at the SME community as a whole.

"I would suggest that given that can take us up to businesses with up to 250 employees and a turnover of £50 million, the Government would be well-advised to look at segmenting that market and prioritising support, some of its funding for some of the very smallest businesses."

Of next Saturday, she said: "The Cabinet Office and Department for Business can lead the charge to celebrate small businesses and to get behind a joined-up strategy across all Departments, including by being clear what we mean by small businesses.

"In particular, let us all get behind small business Saturday on 7 December, to say, 'We in this House support small businesses. We are there for you'."

She said there also needed to be a better definition of small and medium-sized businesses, telling MPs the average person had little idea of what the term SME meant.

The MP added: "I would call on the Cabinet Office to actually come up with a good definition of what a small business is.

"There is a review in Europe, the small business act, to look at how we define our businesses and it seems to me that currently there is no adoption across the UK of the European definitions.

"I'm far from convinced that they are right definitions. The term 'SME' means very little to the average household. "Let's get a definition that is meaningful and relevant to the UK economy."

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7 comments

  • Tony248  |  December 04 2013, 11:43AM

    Not to mention running out of oil, meta4! Certainly electric cars are the future just as soon as they develop one that goes more than 100 miles at a time.....

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  • nicold  |  December 04 2013, 11:03AM

    Let me see...the supermarket price of the same item is cheaper than in a small shop. I wonder where I'll be shopping?

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  • meta4  |  December 03 2013, 10:34AM

    The working classes are being slowly priced out of car ownership. In 20 years time the car will be a luxury that is no longer allowed on the roads and streets in all towns and cities. The bicycle and the electronic mobility vehicle will be all that's left. Health and Safety concerns will no longer allow the brutality of the private car. Things are changing slowly.

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  • Tony248  |  December 03 2013, 5:37AM

    Perhaps the Government needs to also address the Council Mafia's that want their cut by charging us to park on roads which we paid for to build in the first place. Parking charges and the threat of enforcement deter people from shopping in towns, and push them towards the out of town superstores where it is free and easy to park. The car has long since ceased to be a luxury. Small businesses would be greatly helped if all the parking meters disappeared and we did not have to pay that on top to use their services.

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  • VeraBedwell  |  December 02 2013, 12:59PM

    Nobody knows where they are with prices. Really moorejohn. Cheaper prices are cheaper and expensive prices are expensive. If you are looking for regulation in order to keep your prices high just say so. Artificially inflated prices aren't good customer service. We are not as dumb as you think we are.

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  • moorejohn  |  December 02 2013, 11:59AM

    Well said, Anne Marie -- please convery your message directly to the Town Centre Manager of Newton Abbot -- who spoke at a meeting to the good people of Chudleigh a year or more ago telling people that there is no such thing as loyalty in business nowadays -- we should buy purely on quality, price and service. I think she is quite wrong and people like VeraBedwell would destroy independent shops and go to the sometimes cheaper supermarkets -- who would put the prices up when the competition ended. The abolition of Resale Price Maintenance in the sixties which was supposed to bring prices down had the opposite effect as many of us thought at the time -- everything is marked as 50% off some mythical price and no-one knows what the real prices of things are. The old system when the competition was between manufacturers was much fairer and we knew where we were. And the splendid locally owned big stores and small shops were still very much in business. I remember staying with friends in Canada some thirty years ago and all the local shops had gone and one had to go a couple of miles to a vast superstore for everything.

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  • VeraBedwell  |  December 02 2013, 9:24AM

    Get the prices right, get the customer service right and get the quality right and we will use you. It's your call, it's not rocket science

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