SHOPPERS are being urged to use small businesses in the run-up to a day dedicated to local entrepreneurs.

Small Business Saturday is taking place tomorrow to recognise those who work hard to provide goods and services for the town.

And MP for North West Hampshire Kit Malthouse has issued a rallying cry for shoppers to use small firms or lose them.

Mr Malthouse said: “We’re very fortunate to have an array of excellent independents on our high streets in North West Hampshire but we must use them or lose them. Small businesses make up 99 per cent of all businesses here and I’m saddened to see that in Test Valley, half of them do not survive past five years – with our support we can change this.

“The government is doing everything it can to help including investing millions in reviving our high streets and further slashing business rates, but you can help too.

“Small Business Saturday is coming up, and I urge you to take this opportunity to visit and shop at your local independents – use them or we’ll lose them.”

Recent Test Valley figures show that just half of all businesses survive after five years of starting up in the region.

Nine in 10 survived after the first year, however this significantly dropped to just half (50.5 per cent) of all businesses after five years.

Christine Mellor, who runs David Mellor family jewellers which first started as a market stall, said: “Very simply, if people don’t support their small businesses, they will disappear. The face of the high street is changing, but if you use us, you can help us thrive in the years to come. Small Business Saturday is an excellent initiative, I look forward to seeing people on our high streets.”

Annabel Drabble, who owns lifestyle boutique At Last in Andover, added: “If people don’t support their small businesses then we will all go, so if you want to see us on your high street, then please use us.

“Small Business Saturday is a very good idea, I hope it encourages people to come out in force on the day.”

Small Business Saturday takes place across the country and Mr Malthouse will be joining business figures in Andover to talk about their work.

Shops around the town will also be offering discounts to celebrate the event and encourage shoppers to buy local on the day.

In Andover La Di Da, Dorthe Thomas, The Travelling Cupcake, Lucy’s Kitchen, Cardea, Tip Top Balloons, David Mellor and Active Staff will all be offering promotions.

There will also be a chance to win £100 by visiting an independent retailer, photographing your receipt and emailing it to