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Issue:- SATURDAY 13 June 2015

...continued... Governments need to step in and help small businesses as well as banks who need to wise up, as a chain of independently run small shops in the long run is better than a chain of shops owned by 1 national or international group. If a small shop closes and other small shops are able to trade, then you do not lose as many jobs, but when a national closes you lose far more jobs, as they often have taken out the smaller shops before they themselves go under, leaving large vacant buildings that become a major headache for the local area. Small businesses also have to pay taxes locally, but many multi-nationals have not done so for years, so again this has lead to an uneven playing field. HSBC has even said this week:- ”The cost of doing business in the UK is far too high!” and that is the UK's biggest bank! The banks have ripped the nation off for years with the various methods like PPI to name just one scam, but what is given to small business to compensate for it? If you claim it back, you have to pay to do so, even if you make the claim yourself it is still hours you could have been doing something else to benefit your business. That should automatically be given back, without the requirement to claim for it, and it is not just business affected by PPI! Then you have the situation with large businesses continually failing to pay small businesses on time, and if a small business complains, they often lose the contract. These failures to pay often result in added costs for small businesses, who have to pay to chase up the payment, along with any costs incurred should they get overdrawn waiting for it. If lucky, and they have interest on the bank account, they do not get the small interest on that cash as well! Plus it can often result in shaky looking books, which to an investor, or bank, appears as if the small business is failing, resulting in problems in obtaining the likes of bridging loans. This has often resulted in small businesses being unable to invest and evolve quickly to the increasingly changing retail environment. All these factors contribute to high streets across the UK failing, not just in Formby. But one of the key factors in Formby and places like it, are the people who shop. They are often on extremely tight budgets and as most small shops have to buy goods at higher prices that the larger chains who buy in bulk, people naturally go to where they think they can get the best value for their cash. Sadly, it comes down to price and the perceived benefits and convenience of the likes of Tesco to going to a few shops on a high street for the same goods. In reality, you often get better service and products from small businesses, but with pressure on time and pockets, people often choose keeping it simple. Oddly, in Formby footfall in the large stores is not good ether, with one rumoured to be looking at closing in September or October this year, within the Village. If true, it will leave a massive blot on the landscape and that will increase the decline of the remaining stores, combined with the loss of free parking within the area if Sefton introduces the parking fees and restrictions. ”Enough is enough!” said 1 shop owner who wishes not to be named. ”It is not just Formby Books closing, other are soon to follow. We just can't take the pressure. If a large Superstore can't work, what hope have we? I get no time off for being sick. If I close I can't go on the dole straight away. I have no support and no help as an established small business, but I get all the pressure large businesses have and to top it off, a Council hell bent on closing us down and pushing trade out to a Town, or in our case, a Village, Supermarkets and Shopping Centres! No wonder why people are using the internet more and more. I can't even get help with my website, but big businesses can get grants for it!”

This video is what Formby Books has to say about the situation, taken since they officially announced that they are closing. Surely the bottom line has to be, we must "shop local" to preserve the independent shops that keep the money in the local economy and make the area unique. If you have any thoughts or views on this issue, please do email us today, via:- news24@southportreporter.com.

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