Today is Small Business Saturday, when customers are asked to support all types of small business in their community and to 'shop locally'.

Kemi Badenoch, the MP for the Saffron Walden constituency, recently met local business owners in Thaxted to discuss the importance of supporting small businesses, particularly in the run up to Christmas.

Kate Fletcher runs lifestyle store and coffee bar Vintage Style Living, Debbie Springham and Tara Shimmen run family business Thaxted Laundry Room, both on Town Street in Thaxed, and Sophie Box is the owner and stylist at barbers and hairdresser Ladles and Jellyspoons on Newbiggen Street, Thaxted.

Mrs Badenoch said: “Over the years we have seen a significant increase in online shopping and even more so since the start of the pandemic. This is leaving businesses and our highstreets under increasing pressure.

“We are very fortunate to have a variety of fantastic small businesses across the constituency.

“By shopping from them or their service, you are not only supporting them but also supporting their local suppliers, from accountants and caterers, to graphic designers and IT consultancy."

Mrs Badenoch said the Government is doing what it can to help High Streets and customers can also help.

"The more we spend locally, not only will businesses prosper, but it supports jobs and our local economy.”