Crawley News 24 Column, Wednesday 29th November 2017

Small Business Saturday takes place this weekend. The annual event, now in its fifth year, focuses on the role of small businesses within communities and encourages people to use local retailers, services and suppliers.

Over recent years, the council has sought to support Crawley’s small businesses in a range of ways: we’ve helped provide small businesses with access to expert advice on a range of issues, we’ve run campaigns and events designed to encourage individuals and businesses to ‘Buy Local’ thereby creating local supply chains and keeping money circulating around our economy, and we’ve even provided grant funding to help some small businesses take on and train new apprentices, meet start-up costs or expand existing operations. Within just the last few months, the council has launched its scheme for targeted business rate relief in the wake of the national revaluation, helping small businesses adapt to the change in their liabilities.

By supporting small businesses we not only ensure Crawley remains an area of high employment, but that residents have access to an increasing range of career opportunities. Yet, what we do as a council is only one of many elements determining the success of small businesses. For instance, businesses need to have access to reliable infrastructure and as the internet requires companies to cater to the needs of an increasingly distant customer-base, a fast and reliable postal system is vitally important. So, it’s a concern for many that post-privatisation Royal Mail is now pushing for later delivery times. The postal service is part of our national infrastructure, not just a company, and for our economy to thrive it is critical that we as citizens and businesses all let Royal Mail know that whatever savings their shareholders might make from delaying deliveries simply isn’t worth the hit to our national infrastructure.

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