Small Business Saturday: Greens call for extra support to help Exeter’s small businesses survive and thrive

This Small Business Saturday, Exeter Green Party is calling on the government to introduce a five-point plan to support small businesses [1], many of which have suffered heavy losses during the coronavirus pandemic [2].

Green Party candidate for St David’s, Amy Sparling, who has worked in the hospitality sector and helped to build supportive communities as manager of a local business centre, said:

“Exeter has a wealth of small businesses and entrepreneurs that make a huge contribution to the local economy and provide thousands of jobs. But we know that this year many small businesses have been left struggling, with some fighting for survival as a result of the pandemic.

“Across the UK, small and medium sized enterprises account for almost two thirds of employment and around half the turnover of the private sector. It is vital the government steps up its support for these businesses which so many local people rely on. 

“Small businesses help keep money and wealth at home in the local economy instead of it being taken out by multinationals. As big names close their doors or move out of our High Street, it is clear that small businesses can play a vital role in reshaping our shopping streets, centres and communities. They are key to building back better after the pandemic.

“This is why our five-point plan is so important. It can help ensure small businesses are able to survive, thrive and continue contributing to our community.”  


[1] The Green Party’s five-point plan to help small businesses survive and thrive in the months ahead:

  • Extend the business rate holiday into 2021/22 for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with the UK government providing compensation to local authorities for loss of income. As business rates are devolved in Wales, we also call on the Welsh Government to do the same.
  • Increase the amount of support to small businesses who have had to close during lockdown and expand the criteria for those eligible. The current payments offer a derisory £1,300 a month for those with a rateable value of £15,000, which for a lot of small businesses would not even cover rent.
  • Widen the amount of support to small businesses who have stayed open, such as nurseries, but are struggling due to the additional costs of Covid, through an additional discretionary grant for councils to administer.
  • Grant 15% of government contracts to small and micro businesses and revise the government contract application process to remove the current barriers for entry to small business.
  • Extend the current tourism VAT cut through 2021 and expand by applying to food and drink served in pubs, bars and restaurants, on hotel bookings and on theatre, music concert and museum and gallery tickets.  should form part of a process to review our VAT system outside the EU so that it differentially supports smaller shops compared to larger and online shops. 

[2] Research released in September by insurer Simply Business found that coronavirus could have cost small businesses in the UK up to £69bn. The survey found coronavirus had cost the average small company £11,799, with 25% of firms believing they were at risk of closing.


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