THE Liberal Democrats are calling on residents across the Dengie to support independent shops and businesses.

The party’s Maldon branch has launched a new campaign which members believe will help to boost trade and support firms struggling during the coronavirus crisis.

Colin Baldy, the group’s prospective parliamentary candidate, said: “These fantastic small, local businesses have all helped to keep our communities fed and supplied with essentials throughout the coronavirus lockdown.

“Now we need to make sure we thank and support them for their efforts.

“That means helping our high streets survive in the immediate future and then to thrive in the face of difficult times ahead.”

He added: “The current crisis has been challenging for us all as individuals and businesses.

“We have all faced significant upheaval and made sacrifices in all aspects of our life.

“Now we look forward to seeing our brilliant communities pull together, supporting jobs in our towns and villages by shopping locally and within safety guidelines.”

Over the coming weeks, the Maldon Lib Dems will be encouraging local businesses to share each other’s content and to work together online to raise awareness.

The new campaign comes as data released by the Government shows 8,100 people living in the Maldon district have been placed on furlough since March.

The district has the least amount of residents on the scheme in Essex.

It was set up by Chancellor Rishi Sunak to support businesses struggling financially during the Covid-19 crisis.

The scheme sees the Government pay 80 per cent of employee wages.