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Almost 1,500 businesses in Suffolk Coastal close in the past three years in Brexit-hit high street

December 7, 2019 8:45 PM

Woodbridge ThoroughfareThe Liberal Democrats have accused the Conservatives of failing to protect local small businesses, after figures revealed that 1,435 businesses in the Suffolk Coastal area have closed over the last three years - up 14% on the previous three-year period.

Commenting on the figures, Jules Ewart, said:

"Almost 1,500 local businesses have closed their doors under the Conservative government's watch. Each of these businesses represents jobs, investment and opportunities lost in our area, and the impact of these losses is felt across our small rural community.

"It's time for an MP for Suffolk Coastal who will champion small businesses - as a small business owner myself, that's exactly what I will do."

Today (Saturday 7 December) the Liberal Democrats unveil a series of measures to reverse this decline and boost local firms, to mark Small Business Saturday. These include:

  • Creating a new 'start-up allowance' to support those starting new businesses with their living costs in the crucial first weeks of the business.
  • Increasing mentoring support to small business owners
  • Requiring Government agencies and larger firms to sign up to a new, enforceable, prompt payment code to ensure that small businesses never again suffer because of large businesses failing to pay on time.
  • Expanding the Future High Streets Fund to support the redevelopment of more town centres and high streets.
  • Supporting the development of the skills small businesses need by reforming the apprenticeship levy to become a skills and training levy where 25% of being targeted at areas with the greatest skills needs.

The Federation of Small Businesses has warned that a no deal Brexit, which Boris Johnson has repeatedly refused to rule out, would mean more damage to firms. Firms are also being held back by the Conservative government's failure to reform business rates, and by new taxes on the self-employed that business groups have described as "disastrous".

Jules added:
"The Conservative Party have failed small businesses in Suffolk Coastal, saddling them with years of Brexit uncertainty and ignoring urgent calls to reform business rates. They have lost any right to call themselves the party of business.

"The Liberal Democrats will rescue our high streets and boost local businesses by stopping Brexit, scrapping outdated business rates and introducing more support for entrepreneurs."