Shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna today called for the adoption of “Small Business Saturday,” a scheme encouraging shoppers to use their local shops one day a year.
The idea has been taken from the US, where shoppers are urged to shop at neighbourhood independents stores on the first weekend after Thanksgiving. The project has been in place since 2010.
Umunna has now contacted Small Business Saturday organisers American Express to see if a similar scheme could be introduced in the UK. Saturday 7 December has been touted as a possible day.
While the project is estimated to have scored some £3.4 billion for small US shops in 2012, the project has come under criticism because of the corporate American Express sponsorship.
“We must do more to celebrate the contribution local, small independent businesses make to our economy and encourage people to buy from them,” Umunna said.
“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, play a hugely important role in our communities and add to the unique character of each locality.
“Establishing a Small Business Saturday in the UK, a concept which has enjoyed considerable success in the US, would provide a small but simple and effective way to celebrate local small businesses and encourage more people to buy from them on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.”
The government will now place the suggestions under consideration.
Local growth minister Mark Prisk said in a statement: “We’re determined to offer practical support to our high streets, which is why we’ve doubled the amount of small business rate relief to new and smaller shops.
“And for budding entrepreneurs, we’re providing over £80 million of start-up loans for young people starting their own businesses, and my Department is the first in Whitehall to open a pop-up shop in our offices, giving new retailers the opportunity to test their ideas and get their ventures off the ground.”