61% pledge small business support

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Nearly two thirds of people (61%) surveyed in the south west are keen to support small businesses this Christmas, as they worry their local shops could go bust, according to new research conducted by BT.

The poll of 2,000 UK consumers found that 61% of people in the region (58% UK) agree they are making a conscious effort to help small businesses more because of the severe impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on trading over the past year.

The plight of local shops appears to be weighing heavily on the public conscience, as nearly three quarters of people in the south west (72%) fear their local high street won’t survive the pandemic.

The poll found also that 69% of people in the south west (66% UK) are increasingly worried about the impact on their community if they lose local shops, and 64% (60% UK) agreeing that their community depends on local businesses. Coupled with the recent collapse of major retail chains, it’s clear the public are concerned about the future of their local high-street.

The affection the public holds for small businesses is strongly reflected in the survey results, with 51% of respondents in the south west (48% UK) saying that small businesses play a key role in supporting local people; 47% (45% UK) recognising the importance of small businesses in sustaining the economy; and 43% (42% UK) pledging that small businesses provide vital employment.

Fears of contracting Covid-19 appear to remain following the most recent lockdowns across the UK, with 54% of people in the south west (51% UK) stating the pandemic has made them reluctant to visit shops. This reinforces the need for small businesses to have a strong online presence to help them survive the disruption of the pandemic.