Small firms ‘are heartbeat of region’s economy’

The Corn Exchange in Leeds
The Corn Exchange in Leeds
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Entrepreneurs banged the drum for Yorkshire’s small business community in Downing Street yesterday as part of a national campaign to promote independent traders.

Today, commercial centres such as Leeds Corn Exchange will host events to mark the UK’s second Small Business Saturday, which encourages more shoppers to use independent local firms.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne yesterday welcomed 100 small business owners, including a party from Yorkshire, to what was billed as Downing Street’s first Christmas Fair. On the eve of Small Business Saturday, the Chancellor announced an additional £500 business rate discount for retail and food and drink businesses. The Downing Street delegation included Scarborough-based entrepreneur Tina Boden, who was visiting Downing Street as Yorkshire and Humber Ambassador for Small Business Saturday UK, which is a grassroots, non-political, non-commercial campaign.

She said afterwards: “It was a great opportunity for micro and small businesses from all parts of the UK to come together and chat, to share experiences and learn more about what others do.

“Who knows what potential collaborative opportunities may come from it? I am passionate about promoting the role that micro-independent businesses play in stimulating local, regional and national economies.

“Today is about giving small businesses an opportunity to shine. Money spent with local independent businesses brings far more returns to the community where you live.”

Ms Boden said the Government must realise that many businesses didn’t pay large amounts of tax, but were still contributing to the local economy.

Mr Osborne said: “Small business Saturday UK is a brilliant initiative. I urge everyone to visit their local shops and support their local small businesses.”

Simon Williams, the North Yorkshire regional chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said yesterday: “It has been great to see so many members engaged with the Small Business Saturday campaign.”

He said events were taking place today in places such as Helmsley, Boroughbridge, and York, which is hosting a Small Business Saturday Market. Mr Williams added: “These events are the outward celebration of our thriving small businesses and just go to show what a crucial part small businesses play in our communities”

Other supporters include the Costcutter Supermarkets Group,

Daniel Quest, retail director for Costcutter, said: “Small businesses are the heartbeat of the community and add a huge amount of value to the local economy.”