Monday, 26 June 2017

NLP’s Shop Local campaign report

Our High Streets and small parades are a vital part of our communities, providing necessities and a community meeting point, but find themselves under threat of extinction. The core of these areas is the small shopkeeper but high rents & rates and unfair competition from large multiples, have sent many to the wall. Since local and national Government are unwilling to intervene, only the local community can save them by using them!

Over the last couple of weekends National Liberal Party activists have been promoting the national Shop Local campaign, distributing flyers, posters and running stalls. The aim is to encourage communities to use, when at all possible, their local shops. Here are a few reports:

Ulster

Sunday May 5 saw two activists brave the Ulster Spring weather (a mixture of heavy to light rain and freezing wind!) to distribute around 100 Support Local Shops and Businesses leaflets in Newtownabbey, Co. Antrim.

The eye-catching and very distinctive NLP leaflet explains how “Buying local means that you are supporting your local economy.” It goes on to explain the dangers posed by the chain stores and notes that:

“The closure of local independent shops, businesses and traders would be catastrophic to any local community as it would force residents to travel further and limit their choice. It could also result in the remaining suppliers, (in particular the main multinationals), inflating their prices.”

A few large NLP Shop Local posters were also laminated and secured to a large and prominent wire mesh fence situated between two small local shopping areas.

London

On Saturday 4 May members of Havering‘s National Liberal Party ran a Shop local campaign in one of the borough’s small shopping centres. Flyers were handed out explaining why high streets were important for communities, why they were struggling and why residents had to shop locally when they can. Under the slogan ‘Use them or lose them’, almost every shopper agreed with the message, especially since they were doing their bit for the cause in the first place! A spokesman said “Whilst government’s should be assisting the local shopkeeper they simply sit on their hands, turn a blind eye to the growth of Supermarket ‘Extra’s’ and blame the market. He added “If Government’s won’t help then consumers must shop locally if the shops are to survive”. Letters were published in the local press.

Isle of Wight

Our Isle of Wight campaigners leafleted in Ventnor, Shanklin, and Ryde but also discussed the campaign with locals. Apart from supporting it a number of people confused us with the Liberal Democrats which required undermining. Few so called UKIP voters knew any of their policies other than the EU and Immigration stances. Many were horrified to learn of UKIP’s Flat Rate tax that would benefit the very rich. Our Green concerns and Referendum democracy even struck a chord! Essentially our task is to meet the people and tell it how it is!

Devon

Our supporters in Devon chose one small shopping centre and handed out posters to local shopkeepers. Leaflets were also given out to shoppers. A local councillor took one and promised to raise the local business issues at the next council meeting the following week.

Scotland

Traders are being hit particularly hard north of the border and campaigners were out in Paisley, Govan, Renfrew and Glasgow.

Canvey Island

Posters and leaflets handed out by campaigners.

We hope to continue our Shop Local campaign indefinitely and a whole range of materials will be published. If you are interested in helping please contact us at natliberal@aol.com

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