Countdown to Christmas kicks off in Downing Street

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The Prime Minister and Akshata Murty have switched on the festive lights to No10 Downing Street as they host the 2023 festive showcase. Picture by Rory Arnold / No 10 Downing Street. CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 DEED

The Prime Minister was joined by businesses, charities and community groups in a festive celebration at Downing Street last night, where he also switched on the Christmas lights outside Number 10.

He was joined by military families, Points of Light award winners who have been commended for their charitable work, business students, and the owners of Dartmoor Christmas Tree Farm who provided Downing Street’s Christmas Tree.

During the event, Downing Street was transformed into a Christmas market with stalls from a wide range of British businesses showcasing their products, including Mixpixie, Joy by Corrine Smith and Create Gift Love from online retailer Not on The High Street.

Guests also enjoyed food and drink from businesses across the UK including Forest Feast from Northern Ireland, Slainte Sauce from Scotland, Mijmoj from Wales and Mocha Chocolate from Yorkshire, while listening to festive musicfrom the London Community Gospel Choir and a military band.

The Prime Minister and Ms Murty visited the market stalls and spoke to guests after leading a countdown to turn on the festive lights.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: 

Christmas is a very special time of the year where family and friends near and far come together to make new memories, share good food and give thanks. 

I am delighted to welcome some fantastic small businesses, charities and local communities to Downing Street today to mark this special occasion and celebrate the joy of Christmas. This event is also especially important as we look ahead to Small Business Saturday, which is a great opportunity to showcase the huge impact independent businesses have in driving growth and opportunity in our communities.  

From my family to yours, I wish you a very happy Christmas and a prosperous year ahead.

This year’s Christmas tree was provided by Dartmoor Christmas Tree Farm, after they were crowned Champion Christmas Tree Grower of the Year 2023. For over 20 years, BCTGA has provided the tree to stand outside Downing Street.

Friezeland Christmas Tree Farm, in Warwickshire, provided the wreath for the Number 10 front door after winning the Champion Festive Wreath of the Year 2023. 

Ministers from across Government attended and spoke to businesses showcased at the festive event, who were also invited to a meeting with the Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business, Kevin Hollinrake, to discuss how the Government can continue to support small businesses. 

Elizabeth Graves, Owner of Mocha Chocolate said:

I’m really excited to be part of the Christmas Showcase event in Downing Street today. My chocolate making business and cafes are located in the market town of Richmond in the Prime Minister’s constituency in North Yorkshire, and we have been fortunate to meet with him on several occasions including the time he visited our new premises and made chocolate bars with us.

Today is also a fantastic opportunity to meet with the Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business to discuss the ongoing challenges for small businesses and how the Government can assist in helping us to expand and thrive.

This event comes ahead of Small Business Saturday, which is an annual grassroots campaign that encourages people to support small businesses in their communities. To mark the day, ministers will visit independent businesses from across the UK to recognise the value they bring to our daily lives.

It follows a significant package of support for small businesses in the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which included £4.3 billion over the next 5 years to help our high streets and protect small businesses, building a stronger and more resilient economy.  

Michelle Ovens CBE, Director of Small Business Saturday UK said:

Like the wonderful Christmas lights that were switched on at Downing Street, the nation’s 5.5 million small businesses sparkle and shine across the UK. It was fantastic to see the contribution that these businesses make to our local communities and the wider economy highlighted by the Prime Minister at this Christmas showcase. 

This Small Business Saturday we all need to throw our support behind our favourite small businesses and celebrate all the special things they bring to our lives.

Source: Prime Minister’s Office, 10 Downing Street and The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP

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