Cashmobs Suffolk

Hadleigh TH Pump 120916 abOn Saturday, January 4th 2014 Cashmobs Suffolk – a new community initiative to stimulate our flagging High Streets – is coming to Hadleigh.
Struggling shops get our sympathy. Huge multinationals moving into our local area raises our ire and anger at the destruction of the local economy. We complain on social media and decry the decline to our friends. But what do we actually DO about it?
Cash mobs actually go beyond our online complaints. Cash mobs use actual hard cash, spent in a local shop.
So how does it work?
It is all done through the local community grouping together and using their combined networks to spread the word about the local shop that needs support. It generates real cash for bricks and mortar businesses in the local community. The community gets together and decides to spend £10 or thereabouts in a local shop on a designated day. The local shop gets business that would have otherwise gone to a multinational chain of shops and the local community is energised.
It is a simple concept. Shop locally. Buy from local shops to keep the local economy alive. Cashmobs aim is not just about bringing the community together but also about supporting Suffolk¹s independent shops and boosting the local economy.
It’s a concept that has been highly successful in America and has been set up in Suffolk by two local business women, Sue Hall and Eileen Brown, and they are running it on an entirely voluntary basis.
Their message, to spend at the nominated shop in Hadleigh, is being spread through social media particularly through the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/CashMobSuffolk
Other UK towns ¬ including Hadleigh have had Cash Mob events in the past, but Sue and Eileen are planning to take this right across Suffolk visiting different towns across the country on a monthly basis.
Hadleigh and Felixstowe have been selected for January 4th and February 1st respectively but there are plans to go to Lowestoft and west Suffolk later in the year. In time we would like to introduce this initiative across Norfolk and Essex too as well.
Retailers selected for the Cashmob, obviously get a one-off boost but in the US it’s been found to have a positive long term spin-off for other local businesses too as consumers visit other local shops in the town.
So nominate a local Hadleigh business on the Facebook page at http://facebook.com/CashMobSuffolk, look out for the nominated business and spend that tenner in the shop on Saturday January 4th 2014.
Happy Cash mobbing!
Blog courtesy of the Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce

Hands off Hadleigh

Hands off HadleighToday Tesco’s application to develop the Brett Works site in Hadleigh was defeated by seven votes to six. Bearing in mind that four votes were predictable the result was absolutely first class focusing on the economic impact of our town.
My address to the committee received a heart-warming round of applause from the Hadleigh supporters –  and is enclosed).
Floreat Hadleigh

Address to the Planning Committee 130918

High Street Loyalty Card Powers On

???????????????????????????????Yesterday I had the pleasant task of allocating £500 from the Community Locality Budget provided by Suffolk County Council for whom I represent Hadleigh.
The focus was on the Hadleigh’s Loyalty Card shopping scheme set up by the town’s Chamber of Commerce which has been such a success that it’s been difficult keeping up  with demand for the cards.
Two print runs have been exhausted and cards were in short supply. So it was a timely intervention to finance the printing of 25,000 more cards with an allocation of £500 from the Community Locality Budget.
Jane Haylock of Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce received the cheque at the Chamber’s summer party at Priory Hall in Hadleigh.
Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce President, Tony Addison, welcomed the cheque and said how pleased he was to see such a commitment to Hadleigh’s future and the recognition that market towns are worth supporting.
The Loyalty Card, which was Jane’s project, encourages people to shop locally. Shoppers collect stars on the card each time they spend money in participating shops, pubs and restaurants.  When all 10 stars are collected the cards are handed in to take part in a monthly prize draw.
“We now have 1,700 handed in each month which represents 17,000 sales in Hadleigh shops,” said Jane.  About 75 percent of the cards handed in come from Hadleigh residents with the rest from neighbouring villages and some from people who have stayed in the town as tourists.

Amazon Again

Daily Telegraph Logo

The Daily Telegraph on 21st May had some cogent comment on the Amazon lack of taxes paid in the U.K . debate.

The article begins:

The criticism, of Google, Amazon and even Marks & Spencer for seemingly trying to lower their corporation tax payments threatens to take the focus away from the real tax issue in retail – business rates.

For all the focus on how little Amazon pays in corporation tax, it is how little they pay in business rates that is really hurting the high street Their business rate bill is negligible while Home Retail Group, the owner of high street rival Argos, pays £140m.

There is no complex tax avoidance scheme by Amazon to avoid paying business rates, their low payment is simply because they have little physical presence as a business compared to the 700 high street stores of Argos.

Therefore, if the Government is serious about making online companies pay taxes and also about saving the high street it must focus on revamping business rates.

One of the reasons Amazon appears to pay little corporation tax is that its profit margins are wafer thin, reflecting the fact that online retailing is not yet as. profitable as high-street retailing. In 2012, for example, the company posted a global operating profit of $676m (£444m) on sales of $61.lbn; That is a profit margin of just 1.1 p.c.

However, business rates have no relation to profitability – they are simply measured by the rentable value of a commercial property and inflation. This means that struggling high street’ retailers have been spending millions on business rates while start-up online retailers have been free of the tax. This imbalance threatens to distort the future of the retail industry.

The full article is enclosed as a PDF Freeze on Business Rates (since the on line version has been truncated).

 

Supporting the High Street

Hadleigh Loyalty CardMary Portas writes how people can be categorized as watchers and doers. Watchers watch (and criticize)
and doers do. There will always be  those happier about talking about the death of the High Street than actually doing something about it.
The Hadleigh Chamber of Commerce are only too aware of the situation of our High Street, especially now that Morrison’s have opened and new shopping habits are being  formed. The Chamber is working hard to create a High Street for the twenty first century.
Monday evening sees the second of a series of meetings (at Hadleigh Town Hall) with retailers to plan ways forward. Hadleigh now enjoys a population of 8,000 people which roughly equates to 4,000 families. If each family resolved to spend £25 a week in our High Street (and it’s not that difficult to find what you need at a price which is affordable) then we are looking to a boost of £100,000 coming into the High Street shops. We enjoy first class butchers, florists, farm fresh green grocery, wine merchant, bookshop, pet food shop, health food shop,delicatessen with artisan breads and cheeses, picture framer and decent and welcoming pubs. The High Street is one of the reasons why we chose to move here. For that reason alone we should support it vigorously. The High Street also brings social interaction, a chance to meet your neighbours and friends and to catch up on their news.
So tomorrow’s jobs include ordering the Easter lamb from the butcher and also a nice piece of brisket for slow cooking during the week.
Money has to go somewhere and if it doesn’t go in our neighbourhood then it goes somewhere else – not always to our benefit!

Car Parking & Other Matters

On Tuesday 13th  (December) I took part in Babergh’s Joint Overview & Scrutiny (Community Services) and (Stewardship) meeting. I appointed myself as initial chairman of the meeting so that we could elect a chairman (not me!). The chief purpose of this meeting was to recommend to the Strategic Financial Planning Task Group the key options for the draft budget. The Council faces a substantial reduction in Government funding. After some considerable debate the Committee overwhelmingly opted for the following recommendations:

  • ·         Council Tax to rise by 3.5%. This will increase our tax base, give us additional revenue of £45,000 and will ameliorate future shortfalls. After the increase we will still have the second lowest Band D in Suffolk. The additional cost will be less than £5 per year per Band D property.
  • ·         To leave the present car parking regime unchanged.(The Portas review was published this morning). (see http://www.bis.gov.uk/highstreet).
  • ·         To use up to £3000,000 (s.t.c.) of the £924,000 received from  the Government as a New Homes Bonus (based upon past performance) to balance budgets – or to put it another way to invest and support the social investments represented by our car parks.

The recommendations were all against the Executive’s recommendations (which would have been cleared beforehand with members of more senior committees) and have yet to make their way through the various decision channels before coming to the full council in February.

So it remains to be seen how far democratic principles will prevail and the New Year promises to be interesting.