The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has revived its Keep Trade Local campaign in an effort to save the high street.
The FSB is calling on local authorities and government to give businesses more support in the face of declining sales and confidence.
Through its Keep Trade Local campaign, it identified three areas that the authorities need to address - a fairer system for business rates, rates to be linked to CPI, and central and local government to encourage local trade by looking at planning, parking and procurement.
Citing recent Voice of Small Business research, the FSB said confidence among retail businesses had dropped from being ‘neither positive nor concerned’ about their prospects in the previous quarter to ‘overwhelmingly negative’ in Q1 of 2013. The survey also revealed that 47% of retail businesses reported that revenue had dropped over the past three months.
Speaking at the FSB national conference in Leicester last week, national policy chairman Mike Cherry urged action. “Once the high street starts to go into decline it can be difficult to revive,” he said. “But with the right measures from councils and local authorities the tide can be turned.
“Our recent survey on business confidence found that small business owners are still concerned with the issues that previously underpinned Keep Trade Local,” he added. “The government clearly understands these issues and the importance of local economies and the high streets within them.”