4 May 2020
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every fortnight. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's Question: What can local residents do to help small business during this time?
One of my hobbies involves being the co-director of a local entertainment business. The live-entertainment industry is filled with self-employed and contractual workers for whom lockdown equates to unemployment and financial insecurity. While the government has provided some financial relief, for many it will come too late (June), others will not benefit and some continue to have outgoings including rent.
The Night Time Industries Association has written an open letter to the government, #THEBIGFREEZE, urging the government to force banks to freeze loans and mortgages to help venues recover from the financial impact of lockdown; which for venues may last until Christmas. Please visit their website to support this initiative. If you have friends or family who work in arts and entertainment, check in with them and ask them how you can support them.
This is just one industry; small businesses across all industries are facing similar problems. Those unable to trade are particularly vulnerable. To support small businesses requires active engagement. Keep an eye on the Federation of Small Businesses’ website to see campaigning updates. Find out which local businesses are operating and you could use. If possible contact them directly rather than through apps that charge fees. Most importantly, share your local business knowledge on social media and word of mouth; raise awareness of the local alternatives.
Localism is a core tenant of Green Party philosophy, so we always encourage people to support and buy local if possible. It is important to recognise that small businesses cannot often compete with the low prices of larger corporations that use economies of scale. Understandably, given the financial difficulties that many are now facing, not everyone can afford to support local. We must remain mindful of this as we all do our part to support each other in the community.
Our response was written by Mark Slade. Mark has been the co-convenor of the Cambridge Green Party since 2015. He grew up in the city, is a secondary school mathematics teacher and a co-director of Deleted Scene; a local business that produces live entertainment events.