Shoppers are being urged to support small businesses as they face fresh uncertainty heading into the crucial festive trading period.

Organisers of this weekend’s Small Business Saturday have called for a significant show of support and to use the annual event as a chance to recognise the contribution of independent businesses to communities during lockdown.

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Michelle Ovens, director of Small Business Saturday, said: “We all need to show small businesses our love this weekend. Not only do they make a massive contribution to our economy, but an immeasurable difference to all our lives.

“Despite demonstrating incredible entrepreneurialism and agility, alongside the support they’ve shown staff, customers and communities, many are still facing a really tough time.

“Small Business Saturday is a fantastic chance to get behind these firms and say a big ‘thank-you’ for how amazing they are.”

Research by Small Business Saturday supporter American Express found that while small business confidence is starting to rebound, ongoing challenges include the cost of goods, rising energy prices and product shortages.

An estimated £1.1 billion was spent with small businesses across the UK on the same day last year.

Small business minister Paul Scully said: “From the pubs, restaurants and shops that make our high streets tick, to leisure and personal care services – like the hairdresser who saved my post-lockdown blushes last year – small businesses are at the heart of our way of life.

“I urge everyone to shop safely and back their local businesses on Small Business Saturday.

“The Government is leading the way, supporting firms with ground-breaking new schemes like Help to Grow: Digital, which will help our hardworking business leaders to level up with discounted software and free tech support.”

Small Business Saturday takes place this weekend (PA)ll

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “I’m proud to once again support Small Business Saturday – a day when we can all show our support for the independent and locally-run shops, cafes, restaurants and other small businesses that make our city what it is.

“This is more important now than ever before, when so many small businesses have suffered such a difficult year once again. Join me and millions of people across London and the UK as we support the small businesses that make our communities thrive.”

Many of the UK’s six million small businesses take part in the day by hosting events, offering promotions, and collaborating with local councils, community groups and business owners.

This year, more local events are expected, as councils and business groups hold festive markets, light displays and fun days to mark Small Business Saturday, as well as offering free parking in town centres.