Labour leader Ed Miliband went Christmas shopping in Croydon today to mark the UK’s first national Small Business Saturday.
Miliband, guided by local labour MPs, visited a number of independent shops in Crystal Palace buying Christmas ham, toys and books to show his support of the event.
He tweeted during his visit: “Today is a great opportunity to show your support for local businesses in your community. #SmallBizSatUK”
Justine Crow, 50, owner of Bookseller Crow, a 12-year-old independent bookstore in Crystal Palace that Miliband visited, said: “I think it is great that politicians come out in support of Small Business Saturday to visit the local streets and small businesses. It is important that they remember what it is like out here.”
Crow added: “It is important that people remember the value of having local shops and tradesmen. It keeps a place colourful and the money spent locally, stays locally, to benefit the whole of the community.”
She also emphasised the importance of loyal local customers to keep privately owned shops afloat: “Online shopping has taken a lot out of our regular trade but we have managed thanks to the support of our local community.”
Croydon Central parliamentary candidate for 2015 and chair of Croydon Central Labour party, Sarah Jones, who showed Miliband around Crystal Palace, said: “We talked to a lot of small businesses and it was clear how small the profit margins can be and how much any increase in costs impact on survival.
Jones added: “It was super to take Ed round a part of town I have loved all my life. He got a great reception and I look forward to welcoming him back to Croydon soon.”
Other politicians, including Prime Minister David Cameron, also went out to shop local today to show their support of the country’s independent shops.
The event is designed to support the millions of small businesses in the UK by encouraging Britons to shop local.
It follows Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn statement on Thursday which announced that small shops, pubs and restaurants can expect a decrease in business rates by around £1,000.