Business rates and bank closures are ‘stifling local small businesses’ says MP

A SHAW shop opened its doors to Debbie Abrahams, MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, as she spent Small Business Saturday visiting local businesses to hear first-hand how they are faring – and to do a little early Christmas shopping too.

Sue Avery owner of Cissie Barlow’s Traditional Sweet Shop with Debbie and fellow elf Myra Jones on Small Business Saturday

Mrs Abrahams said: “Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for me to go around the constituency and talk to business owners to hear what’s going well or what they might need help with.

“It’s also a great opportunity for me to start my Christmas shopping and make sure I’m supporting the local economy by shopping local!”

One of the businesses Mrs Abrahams visited was Cissie Barlow’s Traditional Sweet Shop.

Owner Sue Avery said: “The main issue I raised with Debbie was high business rates.

“I’d really like to expand my business but high rates just make this impossible. Competition from online sites is fierce but they don’t have to pay rates for a bricks and mortar shop like we do.

“I think they should have to pay more in taxes to help level the playing field. Without some change in this area to help shops like ours high streets across the UK will continue to suffer.

“I also mentioned I’ve noticed a difference in footfall since the local bank closed its branch. We’ve had Warburton’s close, the baths, the bank, and we’ve got the closure of Shop Direct looming too.

All these things affect footfall.”

Commenting on the feedback from the small businesses, Mrs Abrahams said: “Clearly business rates and the closure of local branches of banks are stifling local small businesses.

“This is one reason we have to be so vigilant as large corporations pull out of smaller towns and villages leaving the local economy in turmoil.

“It just shows why we should be fighting the post office closure in Oldham town centre too.”

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