Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has put his support behind the Scottish Liberal Democrat campaign to boost small and local shops ahead of the vital Christmas shopping period. Lib Dem Treasury spokesperson, Christine Jardine, has written to the Chancellor urging him to “even the playing field” by covering delivery costs to help small shops compete with online retailers.
Mr Carmichael said:
“Local shops deserve our support to compete with the online Goliaths. This is still more true after a year in which online retailers have benefitted from the closure of High Street stores. With increasing restrictions across the United Kingdom we risk hastening the closure of local shops as social hubs for our communities. If smaller shops lose out due to unfair competition then we shall all be the poorer for it.
“Earlier this year I argued the case that changes to online sales tax should support cheaper deliveries for rural and island communities – I believe that these measures can work in tandem. If the Government agrees that local shops are a vital part of our communities then they should get behind this campaign.”
Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson Christine Jardine MP commented:
“I’m asking the Chancellor to even the playing field and give small businesses the chance to thrive for online at-home shoppers.
“In the Summer the Chancellor launched a hugely expensive campaign to support the hospitality sector. We need to see this government go the extra mile to support small business in the festive period.
“We want the PM to pay the postage on online purchases from small local independent shops to make them a more viable option for people hunting for Christmas presents and encourage people to shop small from home.”
Commenting on the plans, a spokesperson from the Small Business Federation said:
“This is the type of creative idea that would boost small businesses and balance out the playing field. We must do everything we can to help our small, independent stores.”