James toured local shops in Halesowen today to mark Small Business Saturday, an annual event to highlight and celebrate the achievements of small, independent businesses.
Many small businesses have faced considerable challenges due to the Covid 19 pandemic, with prolonged periods of closure and reduced income. James has welcomed the support provided by the Government to businesses across Halesowen & Rowley Regis, including £15.7m in payments under the Self Employment Income Support Scheme to local constituents. Bounce Back Loans have also been provided to ensure business are able to receive financial support, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme has helped companies that need access to cash.
"This year has been a very difficult one for many of those in business, particularly for those who have been forced to close and unable to trade at certain times of the year", said James. "I really hope that people will ‘shop local’ as they finish their Christmas shopping over the next few weeks, but also continue to make it a habit in the New Year too.
"I also pay tribute to all the owners and employees of small businesses in Halesowen & Rowley Regis for all the work they have out in this year to serve their local communities in unprecedented circumstances, and for ensuring that their premises are Covid-secure so that staff and customers are kept safe."
Vicky Rogers, Central Halesowen Town Manager for Halesowen BID added: "It was great to have James with us on Saturday on Small Business Saturday, to visit local businesses in the town centre. They were pleased to see James and welcomed his support and encouragement. 2020 has been a tough and challenging year, but we’ll continue to work with James and with local businesses to help them bounce back and continue to serve our community."
Further information on the support the Government is offering to business to help them through the challenges of Covid 19 is available at Coronavirus (COVID-19): Business support - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)