‘Shop locally to keep town centre alive’By Julie Spencer
January 10, 2011
Internet shopping and a rise in VAT means small businesses in Bracknell must pull together if they are to survive in 2011.
Mary Flavelle, of the region’s Federation of Small Businesses, said small firms faced a difficult New Year.
“Small businesses will have a lean Christmas and will need courage in 2011,” she said. “We need to look after each other and the way we are going to do this is to keep trade local.”
She blamed the banks for “doing absolutely nothing” to help businesses grow and appealed to Bracknell consumers to spend their hard-earned cash in the town.
Mary was speaking after the Government insisted that new jobs in the private sector would compensate for the 330,000 public sector jobs expected to go in the next four years.
She said: “It is all very well the Government saying that but it is the sort of thing that makes us cross.
“They have said they will be supporting large businesses which is understandable as they have the most employees, but not to the detriment of small businesses.
“We hoped this Government would help with tax breaks and getting rid of red tape but the amount of red tape has not diminished.
“The only thing that has happened is that the tax man is a bit nicer when you ring him up.
“And for all their talk, banks are doing absolutely nothing.”
The sharp rise in internet shopping this Christmas would also ring alarm bells for Bracknell retailers, she said.
Figures out this week revealed that online shopping accounted for 10.9 per cent of all retail sales in November – up from 7.9 per cent a year ago.
She said: “Keeping trade local does work. When you spend £8 locally that will go round five times at least and that money goes back into your community.”
Mary admitted that the threat of the internet would not go away but said Bracknell was still a serious contender for traditional shopping.
“I love Bracknell as we have a great variety of small shops next to each other and Bentalls with all the big names.”