Rachel's November Article

Last call to nominate for my Luton South Small Business Awards

Last month, I launched my 2023 Luton South Small Business Awards, and nominations have been flowing in. I started the awards in 2021 to give local residents the opportunity to say thank you to their favourite small businesses.

In each Luton South ward area, I present the winner with a certificate to recognise their achievement. The nominees and winners over the past couple of years have reflected our town’s brilliant diversity and our wide-ranging business community. It has been fascinating to learn more about the range of small businesses operating in Luton South. From popular independent restaurants and cafes to businesses making cakes and jewellery from home. It has been a privilege to speak to so many dedicated owners and staff members about their contribution to our town.

 Small Businesses are the lifeblood of our local economy.

Our small businesses in Luton have faced difficult economic circumstances over the past 3 years, they’ve come through the Covid-19 pandemic only to be in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, struggling with soaring energy bills and rising costs. Many businesses I have visited have told me about how they have worked hard to survive, and shown determination and innovation to do so, including branching into online sales and pivoting to running their businesses from their homes.

Last week, I met with Justin Richardson, the head of the Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce to discuss issues facing businesses in Luton South, ahead of the Government’s Autumn Statement this week. We discussed the importance of buying locally, the employment provided by Luton’s small businesses, and the impact of economic uncertainty on our local businesses.

Labour is on the side of small business; we will make online giants pay their fair share of business rates and introduce annual revaluations with savings passed on immediately to small businesses. Labour will legislate to make sure invoices are paid on time, as we know how challenging late payment is for small businesses. We will ensure small businesses aren’t at the back of the queue for public contracts. We will also bring energy bills down for good by investing in home-grown renewables and establishing GB energy, a new energy generation company.

I am looking forward to meeting this year’s Luton South Small Business Awards winners on Small Business Saturday, which this year will be held on Saturday 2 December.

Nominations for my Luton South Small Business Awards close this Friday (24 November), you can nominate your favourite local small business at my website www.rachelhopkins.org, or by calling my office 01582 457774.

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