The economic impact of Covid-19 and preceding years of decline are scarred onto Croydon High Street in the form of shuttered shop fronts and their eerie, blank interiors.

Some smaller businesses that were once the lifeblood of the town are still hanging on in there however, and won't go down without a fight.

Shops like Mobiles & Bits, run by Mr Khan on Church Street in Croydon, just off the High Street.

Khan lamented the impact of Covid-19 and associated lockdowns when speaking with the Croydon Guardian in an otherwise empty shop recently which defies the glowing reviews customers have left him and his staff online.

"It's the worst you know? There are no customers, as you can see. I've been in this business here 11 years and we've never seen such quiet times," he said.

"We got the school business grants from the government but that went straight into the rent. There was no help after that. We've lost 50 per cent of our business," the retailer added.

Khan is one of so many small business owners who received help from the state during the initial wave of coronavirus last year, but have since been scuppered by declining levels of support from a government that increasingly emphasizes individual responsibility over collective effort when it comes to the current crisis.

The shop owner added that, on top of the direct effect of Covid on his business's finances was the knock-on impact to both consumers and larger shops closing all around him as the high street buckles under the weight of the economic strain.

"We're just struggling really. Since the restrictions have been lifted it hasn't really helped because people don't have spending power. Food is busy mind you but not these non-essential things...

"We're expecting it to get better as the restrictions ease but after then, I don't know. There's uncertainty. You can see on the High Street even big big companies like Debenhams are closing down. That's really affected our footfall too. Small businesses like us are really struggling," he said.

The business rates Khan pays to Croydon Council he meanwhile described as a "big burden" on top of the impact of the pandemic.

"One thing the government could do for us at this stage is our business rates, if they exempted us. They have just lowered it but haven't exempted it. Mine is £20,000 a year, it's a lot of money."