The Angus & Mearns Liberal Democrats have today called on the Chancellor to “level the playing field” to help small high streets compete with internet giants in the run up to Christmas.
The Liberal Democrats fear local shops hit by decreased footfall during the coronavirus pandemic will continue to struggle and have therefore proposed a new scheme in a similar vein to how the Eat Out to Help Out scheme aided restaurants.
To encourage people to shop local from home to save the high street, the Party wants to see the Government cover the costs of postage and have appealed to MPs to back the campaign.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has welcomed the idea to help firms survive. Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.”
Liberal Democrat spokesperson for Angus Cllr Ben Lawrie said:
“Small businesses in Angus are worried about their ability to stay afloat over the coming months. For so many, Christmas is their most lucrative time of year but coronavirus restrictions have caused footfall to nosedive.
“When people turn online to do their Christmas shopping, free postage offers from online shopping giants are incredibly tempting. That makes it even tougher for small businesses in Angus, putting our high streets at further risk. Ministers must level the playing field.”
Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine MP added:
“In the Summer, the Chancellor launched a campaign to support the hospitality sector. We now need to see this Government go the extra mile to support small business in the festive period.
“We want the Chancellor to pay the postage on online purchases from small local independent shops to make them a more viable option for people hunting for Christmas presents and encourage people to shop small from home.”
Mike Cherry, National Chair of the Federation of Small Businesses, said:
“This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field.
“We must do everything we can to help our small, independent stores.
“This is going to be the most important festive season our economy has ever seen and could be make-or-break for some of our small businesses.
“That’s why we must pull out all the stops to help them survive the end of 2020 and beyond.”