Thursday, 18 April 2013

“Small Business Saturday” idea debated by Council

Local councillors voiced their support for a Small Business Saturday at yesterday's City Council meeting, hoping to get backing for a day that would put small business in the spotlight and encourage people to support them.

Councillor Margaret Pattison served the Notice of Motion championing “Small Business Saturdays”, seconded by Councillor Terrie Metcalfe and supported by various other councillors.

The motion - which is being debated by councils across the length and breadth of England - called on the Council to back the idea of a Small Business Saturday to celebrate and encourage residents and tourists to shop at small local shops on a designated date in the year.

Councillor Pattison, who had led the local campaign in Lancaster and Morecambe said “This is an idea whose time has come.  I’d like to see local councils, trade associations and business organisations showcasing their small businesses through national, regional, local and online media. 

"These businesses are the life blood of our economy," she argues, "playing a hugely important role in our communities and contributing greatly to the local character and uniqueness of our district”. 

Councillor Pattison revealed that she had spoken in person and on the phone to around eighty different and varied operations and had received universal support. 

“They are all so friendly and so keen to add the personal touch," she said, "which they believe makes them different and better to many of their high street competitors.”

Councillor Terrie Metcalfe seconded the motion declaring that she had worked for many years in retailing but that she had seen significant changes over that time. 

“When I first moved in to my present neighbourhood we had two newsagents, a butchers, a bakers, two corner shops and a post office," she noted. "Today, they have all disappeared. 

"The big names have a part to play, but local businesses put their money back into local businesses.”

Councillor David Whittaker said that like many others he had seen more and more supermarkets move into the area and consequently there were many empty boarded up shops where there used to be flourishing business. 

“I know that this campaign is taking off in places like Manchester, Birmingham and London," he noted. "Now we can bring the campaign to our area. Let’s work with the council to give a shot in the arm to small local businesses”.

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