The Thames Valley region of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has recently launched its Keep Trade Local Challenge week. The Challenge is to try and use as many local businesses as possible for one week (29th July- 4thAugust) and then submit your total spend to the grand Thames Valley total and be in with a chance of winning a £300 cash prize.
The region is encouraging people to sign up for the challenge (www.fsb.org.uk/thamesvalley/ktlchallenge) online and for everyone that takes part, the FSB will send them a free cotton shopper bag. At the end of the challenge week participants who have entered their total spend will be entered into a draw for one lucky person to win the cash prize of £300, just for keeping trade local.
Alok Sharma said: “It was a pleasure to visit these local independent businesses and to support their campaign to keep trade local. One of the great things about these local shops is the personalised service you receive and you can buy safe in the knowledge that you will be receiving the freshest local produce.” Alok continued: “One of the biggest challenges for small independent businesses is the availability of convenient parking for their customers. I have been supporting the long running campaign by Tilehurst traders to persuade Reading Borough Council to change their ludicrous parking charges at the Dunstall Close and Recreation Road car parks, which is not doing local businesses any favours.”
Robyn Bourne, Development Manager for the Thames Valley region of the Federation of Small Businesses said: “The FSB recognises that small businesses are the heart of the local community; they generate wealth, employment and opportunity. But with people working longer hours and the growth of convenience, one-stop-shopping and the internet, these places are at risk. By challenging people to use independent businesses and shops for one week the FSB hopes to encourage people use what is on their door step and make the most of the smaller businesses in the community”.
On Friday 7th June 2013, Alok also met with number of local small business leaders at a ‘Meet your MP’ breakfast event organised by the Federation of Small Businesses. The breakfast meeting was held at the Southcote Beefeater pub and was chaired by Robert Hurn Director of accountancy firm, Hurn Limited. Alok spoke to the business leaders about what the government is doing to support small businesses, including cutting Corporation Tax, extending the Small Business Rate Relief and cutting unnecessary business regulations as part of the government’s ‘Red Tape Challenge’. Alok then responded to a number of questions from those attending including questions on funding for small business start-ups and growing businesses and what measures the government was taking to re-balance the economy.
Alok Sharma said: “I was delighted to meet with some of the members from the FSB, to listen to their experiences and to talk to them about what the government can do to further support small businesses. Since coming to power, we have made it clear that this Government backs business. We have slashed corporation tax, are making it easier to access finance and are cutting regulation.”
Alok continued: “Over 2,500 regulations have already been considered as part of the Red Tape Challenge, of which more than half will be scrapped, saving businesses many millions of pounds. By contrast, Labour introduced the equivalent of 6 new regulations for every working day they were in power.”
Robyn Bourne added: “The FSB find that meeting with their local MPs allows members to address issues that are of concern to them and actually feel like they are being listened to and getting answers. We were very pleased that Alok was able to attend one of our breakfast meetings and for us to find out first hand what the government is doing to help small businesses within the local community.”