writes James Moules

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is calling on people to support rural businesses this Christmas.

December 7 was Small Business Saturday, and the CLA took the opportunity to advocate for people buying local goods and celebrating regional produce.

South west regional director Ann Maidment said: “Buying locally, whether it is seasonal festive food and drink, Christmas trees, gifts or decorations, helps contribute to a vibrant rural economy.

"There is certainly a wide variety of suppliers of local products in our region, from fruit and vegetable growers to award-winning gin distilleries.

“Many people will already be regular visitors to farm shops and farmers’ markets to pick up gifts and food for Christmas. These businesses provide jobs, goods and services for local communities, attract tourism and provide a boost to our rural economy.

“It is important to remember that although the festive period is relatively short, the time and care taken to grow produce for Christmas takes a lot longer and thanks should be given to the farming community for their efforts to put food on our tables.”

Small Business Saturday is a campaign that works to present the success of small business and encourage members of the public to support them by shopping locally.

Ann Maidment added: “Small Business Saturday provides an important impetus for consumers to support small businesses in their communities, not just in the run up to Christmas, but throughout the year.

“The rural economy has immense potential for economic growth and job creation, but we need the right policies to unleash it. We will be working hard to ensure the next Government, when it is in place, fully understands the vital role that rural businesses play in supporting the UK economy.”

The CLA South West works to represent people in farming, landowning and rural business throughout Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

Last month, the organisation launched its Rural Powerhouse campaign, which aims to bolster the strength and potential of the nation’s rural economy.

Originally published in the Dorset Echo

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