A Manifesto For Supporting Local Independent Businesses

  1. Supporting the High Street
  2. Buying Local
  3. Introduce a local currency: Worcester Pound
  4. Councils buying more goods and services locally
  5. Increase number of affordable dwellings in the City centre
  6. Reduce VAT from 20% to 5% on building renovations and refurbishments as well as the hospitality sector
  7. Reducing employer's national insurance (reduce tax on jobs)
  8. Keeping the £ in your pocket and the local economy by promoting better insulation and low energy appliances

1. Supporting the High Street

Idea: Council should say no to the new proposed Worcester Woods shopping centre on the A440.

Benefit: To maintain the current footfall which is vital to the continuing existence of  many smaller independent shops within the existing Worcester City centre. This is important to ensure that Worcester does not fall into the “clone” town or excessive charity shops trap and remains an interesting and vibrant place to visit for residents and incoming tourists alike.

2. Buying Local

Idea: City council to relaunch “Buy Local” campaign in City Life magazine and through local papers. Produce some free “Buy Local – Worcestershire – Supporting Local Traders” window stickers for shop windows.

Benefit: Money spent in local independent shops is far more likely to recirculate around the local economy to other local suppliers. Money spent on-line and with larger national chains is spent once and leaves our local economy.

3. Introduce a local currency: Worcester Pound

Idea: City Council to actively support Transition Worcester's plan to introduce a local Worcester Pound currency. Support will be needed to help promote the scheme and  in the longer term allow city traders to use Worcester Pounds in part payment of business rates as well as giving council employees the option to have part of their salary paid in local currency.

Benefit: A scheme that has been adopted by cities like Bristol and Exeter to encourage residents and tourists to spend more of their money with local businesses.

4. Councils buying more goods and services locally

Idea: Council to publish current % spend with suppliers based in Worcestershire in City Life with stats on trends up or down. Councils to update their procurement strategy to take into account Conservative government's 2013 Social Value Act:

The Act is a tool to help commissioners get more value for money out of procurement. It also encourages commissioners to talk to their local provider market or community to design better services, often finding new and innovative solutions to difficult problems.

Benefit: To ensure that a large amount of City and County council spend is with local suppliers so that money is retained within the local economy especially with small businesses. 

5. Increase number of affordable dwellings in the City centre

Idea: City Council to actively support and work with the cross party Living Over The Shop initiative to increase the amount of people living in the city centre.

Benefit: More people living in the city centre will increase economic activity with local shops with minimal additional traffic and congestion.

6. Reduce VAT from 20% to 5% on building renovations and refurbishments as well as the hospitality sector.

Idea: Council to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking him to consider this for the next budget.

Benefit 1: In the longer term will support the regeneration and favouring of redeveloping existing buildings over the building on green field sites. Will give support to the building sector to create more jobs whilst at the same time creating more dwellings.

Benefit 2: Encourages people to holiday in the UK so supports Worcester's growing tourism trade. Has the potential to support many existing and potentially new jobs in this sector.

7. Reducing employer's national insurance (reduce tax on jobs)

Idea: Council to write to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking him to go further with reducing employer's NI annual exemption from the planned £3,000 to £4,000 at the next budget.

Benefit: Increasing employer's annual NI exemption disproportionately positively supports smaller, local independent businesses in Worcester.

8. Keeping the £ in your pocket and the local economy by promoting better insulation and low energy appliances.

Idea: Use “City Life” magazine and other means to promote energy conservation.

Benefit: In addition to the obvious savings in CO2 emissions, every pound not spent on energy which is generally spent with the large and generally distant multinationals is then potentially spent within the local economy.

Green Party Meetings

Come along to our monthly meeting to discuss our plans for Worcester and Worcestershire. Our next meeting starts at 7.30pm on Wednesday 24th January in the upstairs room at The Cricketers on Angel Street. It would be great to see some new people.

For more information, contact Louis via email or telephone 01905 359 509.

Events

Health Funding Crisis Meeting

Worcester Trades Union Council are running this meeting. The say 'Worcestershire's health services are in a critical condition but our MPs are doing nothing. Health services are failing. The UK already spends less per head on health services that countries such as France and Germany. And we waste health money; privatisation has been a disaster. What we need is Fair Funding for the NHS in England. We need to get the Government to make sure the NHS and care services have the money they need to keep the NHS safe and not waste it privatising services.'

To reserve your seat and details of how you can put your questions and ideas contact: wtucgroup@gmail.com