Bill Esterson says businesses and local authorities need to devi

Bill Esterson

 

Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson said local businesses and local authorities have to devise a plan to get encourage more people to shut down their computers and shop local rather than just online.

The MP has been working with local businesses in areas throughout Sefton to hear what measures need to be taken to get people back in the shops on our high streets.

Among the concerns that many businesses have raised with Bill are high business rates, the proliferation of charity shops on our high streets who pay just a percentage of the usual business rates and the impact of the internet on shopping habits.

Bill said: "I have attended and held numerous meetings in recent months with small businesses locally in various locations throughout the constituency.Their primary concerns are concerns that are echoed throughout, primarily, business rates, charity shops and a fall in footfall because of changing shopping habits.

"Just this week, Labour has announced that we plan to cut business rates for small businesses to encourage local entrepreneurship and local growth. This will be a major boost for local businesses in our communities.

"Easing the financial burden on our small businesses will help them to survive. It will help them to create the jobs that we so desperately need. And it will be a boost for our local economy. Many businesses in Formby, Crosby and Maghull will benefit from Labour’s cut in business rates."

Bill said attracting people back in to our high streets will be key to the survival of many local businesses.

Bill said: "Shopping habits have changed. Our high streets need to change with them. 

"Our high streets need to look at providing a service that people can't get online. That, as has been described to me recently, is the holy grail.

"Many businesses online have much lower overheads than those in our high streets. Because of that they can very often keep their prices lower. And of course local businesses can and often do have their own online presence so we need to encourage local shops to use the internet where they can and to make sure their customers know they have a website.

"But shopping locally starts on the high street. We need to give shoppers a positive experience on our high streets. An experience they can't get shopping on the internet. They need to want to come back and they need to want to support local businesses.

"Whether that's making shopping a social experience, or whether that's providing services you can't get online, this is what we need to figure out.

"But what each and everyone one of us can do, is support our local businesses and shop in our local high streets.

"Money spent locally goes back to the local economy. It keeps local people in employment.

"That's something online shopping doesn't do unless it is with local businesses. And all too often the big businesses most of us use online are using tax loopholes and channelling the money off-shore to avoid paying taxes. 

"This practice means that large multinational corporations are getting away with money that should be being used on funding our NHS or our schools. We can all do something about that. Shop locally.

"That's the immediate solution to saving our high streets."