Ahead of Small Business Saturday (December 4), the Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging people to support rural businesses in the run up to Christmas by buying locally and celebrating the quality of produce and products available across the South East.
The region boasts some of the best local produce in the country, from sparkling wines to high quality meats and cheeses, as well as countless Christmas tree growers and farmers’ markets full of festive treats.
Regional Director Tim Bamford said: “This year has seen many rural hospitality and tourism businesses heavily impacted by Covid, and we would encourage the public to support their local businesses in our countryside as they contribute greatly to the economy.
“Buying locally, whether it is seasonal festive food and drink, gifts or decorations, helps to contribute to a vibrant rural economy. There is certainly a wide variety of suppliers stocking top quality local produce from meats and cheeses to fruit and vegetables.
“Many people will already be regular visitors to farm shops and farmers’ markets, recognising the high food and animal welfare standards of British produce. These businesses provide jobs, goods and services for local communities, attract tourism and provide a real boost to our economy.
“Small Business Saturday provides an important reminder to consumers in supporting small businesses in their communities, not just in the run up to Christmas, but throughout the year.”
In its Rural Powerhouse initiative, the CLA estimates that if rural productivity per worker was raised to the national average, an additional £43 billion could be added to national income every year.
Mr Bamford added: “In the meantime we can all play our part – and take some of the stress out of Christmas – by turning to local suppliers for your trees, turkeys and tinsel.”
CLA South East represents farmers, landowners and rural businesses across Kent, Hampshire, Surrey, Sussex, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and the Isle of Wight.