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Labour calls for Small Business Saturday

Labour has called for a “Small Business Saturday” to help boost independent businesses.

The idea, which is already well established in the US, was proposed by shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna (pictured), who described local businesses as “the lifeblood of our economy”.

In the US, the day is the first Saturday after Thanksgiving, one of the busiest shopping days in the year. In 2012, Barack Obama supported the initiative by visiting an independent book shop. In all, the equivalent of £3.4bn was spent in small shops in the US on 24th November 2012.

Umunna has suggested 17th December 2013 as the first such day in the UK, and has written to American Express, which originated the concept in the US, to help extend the scheme to here.

He said: “We must do more to celebrate the contribution local, small independent businesses make to our economy and encourage people to buy from them. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, play a hugely important role in our communities and add to the unique character of each locality.  

“Establishing a Small Business Saturday in the UK, a concept which has enjoyed considerable success in the US, would provide a small but simple and effective way to celebrate local small businesses and encourage more people to buy from them on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.”

He added that Labour-run local authorities in Manchester, Birmingham and parts of London had given their support to the idea.