Why is independence so important and why is it so crucial that we support local independent businesses?
We are going through some major societal and economic changes at the moment, including economic upheaval, the decline of the High Street and the growth of 'mega corporations' like Amazon and McDonalds. All of this has combined to hit independent businesses particularly hard.
If this continues there could be several very serious consequences:
1. Jobs will be lost
2. Customers will lose variety of choice
3. Innovation will slow down
4. The environment will suffer
Taking one example, McDonalds can sell a Happy Meal for a far lower price than we would be able to buy the ingredients for! From both an environmental perspective and also from an unfair competition perspective this is not right. There must be a better way.
In the brewing industry we have actually found a better way, which is the Small Brewers Tax Relief Scheme which gives smaller craft breweries a tax break to enable them to compete against the big breweries. On the whole this works really well, levelling the playing field and creating an amazing selection of beers for the consumer, as well as 1000’s of jobs! Unfortunately, several of the big breweries are currently lobbying to stop this hugely beneficial scheme (I wonder why?), you can sign a petition to stop this here.
Why can’t this principle be applied elsewhere? For example, if the current VAT reduction for hospitality (due to Covid-19) was made a permanent reduction for small independents then they might have a chance of competing against the huge economies of scale that big businesses enjoy. This would at the same time offer more choice for the consumer, more jobs for the local economy and less environmental impact.
To conclude, independent businesses give so much to the country in so many ways and we would be significantly worse off without them. If you want to support local jobs, support innovation and choice, and help prevent further environmental damage then please buy from independent retailers and businesses wherever you can.