Bexhill and Battle MP’s rallying cry to support small businesses

Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman is urging people to help support small businesses in the area during the second lockdown and in the run-up to Christmas.

Thursday, 12th November 2020, 2:12 pm
MP Huw Merriman with Ian Cawley at Rother Books. Picture taken before the pandemic SUS-201111-174936001

Speaking in a Parliamentary debate, he said: “Without small businesses, we would not have jobs.

“I am very concerned that those small businesses will not survive. That is why, with regret, I have been unable to support the Government’s November restrictions.

“Despite these restrictions, the bigger operatives such as supermarkets are able to open up while smaller businesses complain that they are unable to open.

“I want to focus on what we can all do before Christmas, because all retail businesses are able to open online.

“I would like to see a national campaign focused on November, a crucial month for many small and medium-sized enterprises, so that we buy local.

“It is important that we all take the lead and that businesses innovate so that they are able to open during what will be a difficult month.”

Name-checking Rother Books on Battle High Street, the MP said: “We can buy its books through an online organisation called Bookshop.org, whereby the local bookstore gets the profits that it would receive if someone had purchased in the shop.”

Last weekend Mr Merriman was in Bexhill to help promote what can still be sold by independent retailers.

This weekend the MP is visiting traders and the Chamber of Commerce in Battle.

Helen Baker, vice-chairman of the Battle Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our high street businesses, who have been told they need to close, feel frustrated by what they feel are ambiguous, unfair and poorly thought out rules about what are essential goods.

“Although we all understand the need to stop the spread of the virus, this latest lockdown will undoubtedly lead to further hardship for already struggling small businesses.

“However, the majority of businesses which are closed this month, are offering a click and collect service for everything you need and some even do free delivery. Local support for our Battle Businesses, both open and closed, has been great, and is very much appreciated. We hope that our customers can hang on until December when we look forward to reopening and welcoming everyone safely back to the High Street again.”

Ian Cawley, owner of Rother Books, said: “Since the end of the first lockdown it has been evident how keen people are to shop locally and how much they missed being able to do so when they could not.

“During this lockdown I am operating a click and collect service and delivering to people locally.

“However, this is a drop in the ocean compared to the business I would normally do at this time of year so I am desperate for the lockdown not to be extended further into December.”

Mr Merriman is inviting small businesses owners to get in touch with him so he can film and promote their novel ways to sell locally on his own social media.

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