Last weekend's Small Business Saturday was a great opportunity to celebrate our local businesses. Small local businesses matter as they provide 6 out of 10 jobs.
Last year I visited businesses in Dover to hear how they were finding the trading environment. Back then things were still just picking up. This year I visited businesses in Deal High Street. It's clear our recovery is now being really felt by businesses. They told me that the inflation busting wage rises and higher numbers of people in work are now making a real difference.
Last years Small Business Saturday saw over 16 million people go out to support small businesses and over £500 million was spent with small businesses. Hundreds of businesses up and down the land took part. It was great news that Dover District Council also supported the day with free parking across the district.
This campaign has also taken hold among Parliamentarians. Over 200 MPs support the campaign, including the Prime Minister, the Business Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer. This is welcome as big business has more lobbying resources and Small Business Saturday is a powerful reminder that small businesses are the job creators. Over 1 million new jobs were created by small business over the past decade. While big businesses did not create many at all. What's more today's small businesses are tomorrow's big businesses. Backing the small business entrepreneurs means more jobs, more innovation and more world class businesses in the future.
In Deal I visited the Black Douglas which provides great food and super coffee. Dalziel Douglas runs the most delightful establishment which is packed with regulars and tourists alike. Blind Illusions run up curtains, blinds and brilliant plantation shutters. They may be based on Deal yet they do work all over the country. While the furniture, candles and Christmas gifts at Beach Furniture in the High Street is well worth a visit. The array of candles there is quite breathtaking while they provide everything from Christmas baubles to very comfortable sofas you can sink right into.
Deal High Street is just such a gem. It is rightly celebrated as the best in the land. The fast train now sweeps into Deal every hour of every day and this has clearly made a huge difference to the vitality and energy seen in the High Street. Yet so too have the small businesses. It is the energy and sense of purpose of our local businesses that has led to the transformation of Deal. Deal is a town on the rise. It is no wonder the town is increasingly hailed as the new Whitstable.
It's impressive to see how well small businesses are doing in Dover and Deal. They are the innovators and the job creators. They are the major local employers and I will continue to do all I can to support them in Parliament.
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