Tomorrow (the 6th of December) is ‘Small Business Saturday’. This is an opportunity for us all to celebrate and, importantly, promote small businesses - specifically (as it is a Saturday), shops.

Bath is incredibly fortunate in that is has a large number of independent shops. Some of them have prepared special gifts for customers tomorrow (first come first served!) - you can see a list of the shops involved here. I encourage you to pop along to as many as you can and make the most of the effort that our lovely local shops have gone to. Then, of course, continue to go to them next time you’re in town!

There are many good reasons to shop with independent businesses. Not only is money spent in the community more likely to stay in the community, but smaller businesses employ proportionately more staff, are more likely to buy from other local businesses, and are much more likely to pay all taxes due. It is also much better for the environment for people to shop close to where they live - the only way to create a sustainable society is for most goods to be available locally for most of the people.

Sustainable industries are most likely to be small businesses, not-for-profit enterprises, charity or community-based organisations, publically owned or mutuals. Scaling up might be through social franchises, with local ownership and control.

Of course, it is a core philosophy of the Green Party to promote shopping locally and to prefer independents over large corporations with their dodgy tax practices and offshoring. We have always and will continue to campaign for tax relief for small businesses, and we have a significant number of policies designed to promote and help them. For example, small businesses in the UK find it difficult to get timely access to external funds and affordable interest rates. We would create Community Banks which would have funds available for local activities. They would give local firms and co-operatives access to funds managed locally and supplied at preferential rates. Community scale investment could also be supported through the creation of community currencies which could be supported by local councils.

Promoting and using small business is something I try to do every time I need to buy anything, regardless of whether I am fighting an election or not. It’s easy for politicians to claim to ‘support local businesses’ but not actually do so, especially when they belong to parties with ties to huge corporations. We are the only party that does not receive funding from those large companies and therefore have not been compromised.