With 1.06 million small businesses at risk of closing down due to lockdown, volunteers for the Local Matters activist group took to the streets across England to raise awareness of the danger facing our highstreets.

Saturday, 24 October 2020 – LIVERPOOL

Activists from Local Matters, a new pro-local organisation, took to the streets of Rochester, Liverpool and Leeds on Thursday afternoon in a national show of solidarity with small businesses across England. Locally-run shops and businesses have been steadily declining for decades, but with 1.06 million small businesses at risk of collapsing in the next few months under the weight of the lockdown, the pandemic could be the death knell for independent business. Local Matters volunteers spoke with shoppers and shop-owners alike to raise awareness of this threat and discuss potential solutions to the crisis.

Ethan, a Local Matters volunteer in Kent, said, “Although our activists focused on these particular high streets, the loss of small businesses and their replacement by international corporations is a national issue affecting every town in Britain. Two-thirds of Britons rely on small businesses for employment. An extended lockdown will devastate local shops that often rely on hand-to-mouth income while huge corporations profit from the destruction of small businesses that threaten their profit margins.”

Activists handed out leaflets asking the public “Why Not Shop Smaller?” while arguing in favour of local spending overleaf. The leaflets described a number of positive effects of ‘shopping smaller’, such as job creation in local areas, the reduction of carbon emissions from international goods transport and the ‘recycling’ of money spent by shoppers who invest in their own community.

One part of the leaflet read, “If every family in the U.K. spent £5 a week in their local shops, it would be worth £13.5 billion to local economies over the course of one year. Small changes can make all the difference.”

Local Matters is searching for volunteers from across England to join their campaign in favour of everything local and in opposition to globalisation and the erasure of regional identities.