This week marks Family Business Week, followed by Small Business Saturday on 2nd December. This is a time when we celebrate the small and independent businesses in our communities.
Here in Chester, we are lucky to have so many diverse businesses that make our highstreets a rich tapestry of culture, commerce, and community.
They are nestled at the heart of our communities and are vital to our local economy.
Small businesses like our local pubs, butchers, or coffee shops, make up more than 99% of all UK business and account for over half of business turnover and employment.
Local businesses across our city are not immune to the pain inflicted by the current economic climate and it remains a challenging time for many. Despite the cost-of-living pressures, our local businesses continue to thrive thanks to their innovative approach, impressive levels of resilience and continuing support from Chester residents.
When I was first elected, I pledged to stand up for residents and businesses in the House of Commons and support them in any way I can. I have raised the importance of our high streets and local businesses on several occasions. In fact, one of my very first questions in the Chamber was on this exact issue. I continue to work closely with our local communities and local businesses to champion their voices and represent the challenges they face.
With the opening of the Chester Christmas Market and the switching on of the Christmas lights, the city is truly starting to get into the Christmas spirit. Last weekend was really busy in the city centre.
As we near the festive season and our minds turn to Christmas shopping, Small Business Saturday is an opportunity to show our continued support to local businesses and encourage our family, friends, neighbours, and local communities to do so as well.
For many local shops and hospitality venues this can be the busiest time of year and their staff, as every other time of year, deserve our respect.
Sadly, it can also be the most stressful time of year for many shopworkers who can experience an increased level of abuse. A recent survey showed that over 70% of retail workers had experienced some form of abuse at work in 2022 which is both shocking and unacceptable
I was proud to support Usdaw’s Freedom from Fear Campaign in Parliament last week which aims to tackle violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.
This Christmas, let’s support our local businesses, shop local and do so respectfully.