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Sefton Central MP pledges support for local shops

Sefton Central MP and Shadow Business Minister Bill Esterson pushed a “shop local” message at the Association of Convenience Stores’ Heart of the Community reception in Parliament.

The MP pledged support for the 34 convenience stores in his constituency and said local shops play an essential role in communities.

The ACS Heart of the Community reception is an annual event which draws attention to concerns about the future of the convenience store sector. Mr Esterson spoke at the event to say that more must be done to support these small businesses.

He said: “It’s not fair that large corporations duck out of paying their taxes through sweetheart deals with HMRC while smaller businesses have to comply to the letter. Everybody should pay their fair share of tax.

“It’s not fair that many smaller businesses go under because larger businesses fail to pay them. And it’s often hard for these small businesses to grow because banks will not lend to them. We need an economy that works for the many small businesses not the few multinationals.

“We need infrastructure in our communities that will support small shops and small businesses.

“Local shops provide essential goods and services in our communities and it is vital that all MPs show support for these retailers both in Westminster and their local area. These stores really are at the heart of our communities and the Government must do everything they can to ensure that they succeed during this difficult economic time.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Convenience stores are one of the services that have the most positive impact on local high streets, towns and villages, and we welcome the support of Bill Esterson for the local shop sector. It is now more important than ever that MPs engage with small businesses in their constituencies, and we look forward to working with Bill in the future.”

The 2017 ACS Local Shop Report shows that there are 49,918 convenience stores in mainland UK making up a sector that is now worth over £38 billion. Local shops are also a vital source of employment, providing jobs for over 370,000 people. Local shop owners are some of the hardest working people in the UK – 20% of shop owners work more than 70 hours per week on average, and 19% take no holiday at all throughout the year.

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