Support small businesses during town centre disruption.

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In Preston recently, 2 small local businesses were forced to close due to circumstances beyond their control. The local council was carrying out improvements to the area which meant most of the regular passing clientele were hindered by roadworks and diversions, leading to reduced footfall. Despite suffering from massive reductions to their income, their requests for a reduction in rates during this period were denied. Surely the local and national government have a duty to support small businesses; they are the backbone of our economy. We are asking that a procedure be put in place to automatically help small businesses who may be similarly affected in the future.