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Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson leads Parliamentary debate to discuss how to help local retailers take on the giants


Sefton Central Labour MP Bill Esterson will detail the experience of local retailers in Formby, Maghull, Aintree and Crosby in Parliament next week after he was successful in his bid for a Westminster debate on how to help small businesses.

Bill tabled the debate after meeting with independent retailers throughout his constituency and hearing how they are all struggling to contend with the supermarket and internet giants.

The MP said one of the primary issues is how small local businesses can compete with the retail giants.

Bill said: "I am delighted that I have been successful in calling this debate in Westminster Hall. This is a huge issue for small independent businesses here in Sefton Central, and throughout the country.

"Far too many small businesses face going under because of the immense amount of pressure they are under from the likes of large supermarkets who are conducting practices that are putting pressure on the independents.

"In the House of Commons this week during Business Questions  I raised the issue of supermarkets offering free newspapers and coffee to customers, despite being just yards from a struggling local newsagent. I also mentioned the supermarket that has set up a car wash, despite again being opposite an independent car wash. How can independent businesses like this exist when they are being squeezed so much by the giant retailers?

"While we need competition in the marketplace, we need to create a more level playing field so that the independents can take on the giants."

Bill said Labour's proposed business rate cut for small businesses was just one step in helping small and independent businesses.

Bill said: "It is small businesses which are the backbone of our economy. There are 4.9 million businesses in this country. Of those, only 200,000 employ 10 or more people, while the vast majority employ a small number of people, or are sole traders.

"Labour's pledge to cut business rates for small businesses is the first step in helping them.

"What I hope to see at the debate next week is a full and frank discussion on how we can really provide a level playing field for our small businesses.

"What can we do to safeguard their future and the future of the millions of jobs that they create? And what can we do to safeguard their vital contribution to the local and national economy?

"We have fantastic local businesses in Crosby, Formby, Maghull and Aintree. We have some excellent local shopping centres. 

"I hope this week's debate is the first step in taking the urgent action that is needed to help our excellent small businesses and high streets not just compete, but to also improve and grow."

The Westminster Hall adjournment debate will be held on Tuesday, February 4, starting at 4.30pm.



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