Mr Selous (pictured), MP for South West Bedfordshire, visited several firms in support of the Keep Trade Local campaign being run by the Federation of Small Businesses.
He said: “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.
“Dunstable has lots to offer and I would encourage local people to support their local high streets by using them wherever possible.”
The FSB is calling for local authorities, councils and central government to look at how they can make grassroots economies prosperous once again by working in partnership and helping their independent high street businesses to grow.
Through its Keep Trade Local campaign the FSB is calling for:
- Business rates to be made fairer and small business rates relief to be made permanent in England as it is in Scotland;
- Business rates to be indexed to the Consumer Price Index inflation measure;
- Central and local government to think about the ‘three P’s’ – planning, parking and procurement as a way to boost and encourage local trade.
Small businesses believe that a lack of consumer confidence will pose a significant challenge to their business in the coming 12 months, according to the latest findings of a FSB snap poll.
The continued decline of the high street is putting businesses at risk, with supermarkets and the internet getting stronger. Through its Keep Trade Local campaign and with the help of local supporters like Mr Selous, the FSB is encouraging businesses to work together to make their local high street the place to visit, and for people to understand they must use the high street or face losing it for good.
Damian Cummins, chair of the FSB’s Luton and South Bedfordshire branch, said: “Once the high street starts to go into decline, it can be difficult to revive. But with the right measures from councils and local authorities the tide can be turned.
“Our recent survey on business confidence found that small business owners are still concerned with the issues that previously underpinned Keep Trade Local. The Government clearly understands these issues and the importance of local economies and the high streets within them.”