Council urged to do more to support local businesses

The Isle of Wight Council is being urged to do more to support local businesses after the extent of the authority’s retail spend with US retail giant Amazon was revealed by the Island Labour Party.

Labour says the council’s spending with online retailers needs to be reviewed after the party discovered over £41,000 has been spent by the Isle of Wight council with Amazon alone during the last year.

Labour says the council also routinely spends with other major online retailers at a time when many small local businesses are struggling. The party has called on the council to review its procurement protocols to see if more trade can be given to local retailers.

“We all accept that buying goods online can be quick and cost-effective and we all know that the council needs to save money given the austerity inflicted upon it by Conservative Government,” said Island Labour Chair Julian Critchley.

“But at a time when it is purporting to be supporting local business it seems that it is spending tens of thousands of pounds off-Island with companies renowned for destroying jobs and avoiding fair taxation.”

“If our council is habitually taking the lazy option and spending money off-Island with online retailers then it needs to take stock and not just put its money where its mouse is.”

Mr Critchley said that in 2015 the council signed an accord with the Island Federation of Small Businesses which pledged to, where possible, use small businesses to provide goods and services.

“But it seems clear that significant amounts of money that could be kept on the Island and might even be the difference between local businesses thriving or dying are routinely being spent on companies like Amazon.