Small businesses form the heart of our communities, but with news that as many as one in five might not survive the economic crisis we face emerging from lockdown to a much changed picture.
The local cafes, pubs, shops and services that once formed part of our everyday lives have been faced with months of hardship as revenues dry up and outgoings mount.
Government support has gone some way in propping them up, but it’s safe to say that it hasn’t gone far enough.
We have been inundated by small and micro firms who, for many reasons, have been unable to claim much-needed support because they fall through cracks in the system.
Furthermore, and by their very nature, small businesses have been less prepared to deal with a crisis of this scale and are therefore more at risk as a consequence.
The lifeblood of the economy
But here’s the rub.
Without small businesses Britain – a nation of shopkeepers – is nothing.
As we noted here, it is imperative that in these times we do not allow our small companies to fail.
Every business that closes has a wider effect on the economy as suppliers lose demand and workers become benefit claimants.
This death spiral effect will be the cause of much suffering and regret if we allow it to take hold.
The government has a mammoth role to play in that regard – we make the practical case for what that action should be here – but people also have a responsibility to protect the businesses we both know and love.
The #OneSquareMile campaign
That’s why we are launching the #OneSquareMile campaign as a rallying call the public to support local business when the economy starts up again.
We want to encourage people to eat, drink and shop locally to help get the economy moving and ensure that those who have been hardest hit by the crisis get the support they need.
As such, our message to you is simple.
Draw a square mile of your home and survey the small businesses operating close to you. Consider them for future purchases and share the #OneSquareMile hashtag to encourage others to do the same.
We will be posting regular updates in the One Square Mile page, keeping you updated with how businesses across sectors are coping with the crisis and how we can support them.
With your help we can ensure that our local economies survive the downturn and emerge stronger when this has all blown over.