Lucy Scott, director at Birmingham-based bakery, Lil’s Parlour, said: “Despite endless pivots and strategy rethinks, our sales have been decreasing steadily for well over a year.

The cost of living crisis feels exceptionally cruel. People are understandably cutting back as everything is costing so much more. We are now a community interest company, offering a 'Pay As You Feel' initiative in our shop. This means our profits are invested directly back into the community. We are also crowd-funding for a van to take our 'Pay As You Feel' bake sales UK-wide and the response is positive. You have to keep changing with the times and if I can stand up and help families to not have to choose between heating and eating, I will do that."

Government High Streets Task Force expert and ShopAppy founder, Dr Jackie Mulligan, commented: “People just aren't spending amid the cost of living crisis. They're tightening their belts and then some. Retailers selling non-essentials are in a highly precarious position with inflation where it's at. The family businesses that line our high streets are being seriously challenged at present and this comes on top of two arduous years. They are facing a triple whammy of rising costs at home, rising costs in their business and financially squeezed customers who are spending less. The best thing we can all do is shop with them because any purchase from a local shop is an investment in our communities."