This article first appeared in Luton News on 23rd August 2023
We often don’t notice how much we depend on small businesses. Need a pint of milk in a hurry? Find yourself with a puncture on the way to work? Grabbing a coffee before the commute, or a special meal? Maybe you own a business that needs an innovative partner? All of these day-to-day activities rely on the thriving and well-supported small business sector. This is why, since 2021, I have made it my goal to shout out a small business in my constituency almost every single Saturday.
On Saturday 26th August, I celebrated my 100th shout-out of small businesses across Luton North.
These businesses and their owners work incredibly hard to enrich life in our town. From long standing corner shops, pharmacies and gyms, to enterprises like CV creators, sports clubs, manufacturing and the motor industry specialists, each one plays an important role in what makes Luton so special. They form a rich and vibrant part of our entrepreneurial, innovative and diverse town and provide vital jobs and investment for Luton. They also make a difference across the country, employing 5.5million people.
The lack of a national industrial strategy has seen many businesses struggle more than they should. Many are suffering from the challenges of high bills, inflation and the cost of living crisis. Meanwhile, the Government continues to tinker with the outdated and dysfunctional business rates system. The threshold for business rates relief needs to be raised to support more local businesses to survive and thrive. Some small businesses have been hit especially hard recently, while also trying to compete with big online retail giants – so I continue to carry out my Small Business Saturday Shout Outs to help tip the balance and celebrate the brilliant businesses in Luton North, as well as speaking in Parliament about the reforms small business needs. On a personal level, I have often counted on them for my needs, from sweet start-ups like Kandy Kingzz, to getting a tyre fixed at Ranger Tyres, or grabbing morning coffees from the lovely Nuno at Leagrave Station.
I know the value of small businesses, which is why I will continue to shout them out from the 100 mark and beyond. If you own a small business in Luton North, please do get in touch for your own shoutout: firstname.lastname@example.org.