Small Business Saturday - the national campaign which encourages everyone in the UK to support small businesses, both on the day and beyond - arrived in Fleet today.
Ranil drove support of the campaign by leading local Councillors on a tour of local businesses in Fleet. The team visited Kitchen Kit, Hart Travel & Kristena Shoes and Tilly Mint. Ranil was joined by James Arbuthnot MP, Cllr Stephen Parker (Deputy Leader, Hart DC), Cllr Gavin Evans (Cabinet Member for Fleet Town Centre, Hart DC) and Cllr Steve Forster (Fleet Town Council). Traders were delighted by Hart DC’s support of Small Business Saturday by providing free parking all day in their car parks – and footfall was strong on the High Street.
The Government’s support for small businesses, announced in the Autumn Statement, was at the front of many traders’ minds – particularly the positive effect that the reduction of future business rates will have on small businesses.
Ranil said: “Small businesses are critical to our local economy and make such a valuable contribution in the community. While high streets are changing in the face of out-of-town and online competition, it is clear from spending just one day with local businesses that they are rising to the challenge.”
“At all levels, we’re on the side of businesses. Our local council supported Small Business Saturday by providing free car parking – and, nationally, we have extended the doubling of the small business rate for three years. We will now extend it again until March 2015. This will help 540,000 of the smallest businesses on Britain’s high streets and means 360,000 businesses will pay no business rates at all.”