Business Improvement Districts have been among those highlighting the need for Scots to choose local after a survey reinforced exactly how critical that simple decision is.
Research which included responses by members of Scotland’s Improvement Districts (SIDs) found that three-quarters of businesses said the support of locals was critical to their future.
The findings were revealed as part of the Scotland Loves Local campaign, which is encouraging people to choose local in order to help build stronger, more sustainable communities of the future.
Research among stakeholders and members of Scotland’s Towns Partnership (STP) – the parent organisation of SIDs as well as being the team behind Scotland Loves Local – found that:
- 73% of businesses who responded to questions said custom from residents in their local community as “extremely important”, with 13% describing it as “very important”.
- Nine-in-10 (90%) said it was important that people “love local” and get behind businesses in their community this summer.
- And the circular impact of businesses boosting their local economy was reinforced by the survey responses, with three-quarters (75%) of those who took part saying they buy from and sell to other local enterprises.
Reacting to the findings, Jane Kennedy, Manager of BID St Andrews, said: “It’s never been more important for Fife communities to get behind their local businesses. At BID St Andrews, we are helping people to give local businesses a boost through a range of local initiatives including the St Andrews Gift Card and the Fife Gift Card, which is locking spending into the town and supporting bricks and mortar businesses.
“In St Andrews and across the wider region we have such a wealth of fantastic shopping, eating and leisure experiences. By loving local this summer, people can discover all the amazing experiences that we have on our doorstep – while supporting local businesses that keep millions of pounds-worth of spending in local communities. That support will allow us to make Fife an even better place to live, work and visit.”
At Aberdeen Inspired, Chief Executive Adrian Watson said: “We are helping people to give local businesses a boost through a range of local initiatives including the Aberdeen Gift Card, which is locking spending into the city and supporting bricks and mortar businesses.
“In Aberdeen and across the wider region we have such a wealth of fantastic shopping, eating and leisure experiences. By loving local this summer, people can discover all the amazing experiences that we have on our doorstep – while supporting local businesses that keep millions of pounds-worth of spending in local communities. That support will allow us to make the North East an even better place to live, work and visit.”
Born as the nation emerged from the first Covid-19 lockdown in summer 2020, Scotland Loves Local has evolved into a campaign for longer-term good – encouraging people to make the places they live better by supporting the people and businesses around them.
STP Chair Professor Leigh Sparks, the leading retail academic who’s also the University of Stirling’s deputy principal, said: “Towns, villages and local places across Scotland – and the businesses that operate at their heart – are the economic and social glue of the country and our communities.
“The cost of living and the cost of doing business, though, continue to challenge both consumers and businesses.
“Local support is the common thread that helps everyone weather this and build sustainable places and communities. By choosing local – and getting behind the businesses in our communities – we will ensure the survival of shops and services. Local consumer spending generates local business spending and protects the jobs of family, friends and neighbours.
“By loving local, we will also ensure that our high streets and town centres build a fairer, more sustainable Scotland – creating even better places to live, work and visit.”
Scotland Loves Local is supported by the Scottish Government.
Planning Minister, Joe FitzPatrick MSP, said: “We know town centres make a huge contribution to the economic and social success of our local communities. That’s why the Scottish Government has taken significant steps to help our towns, by supporting Scotland’s Towns Partnership to lead work on local strategies.
“I’m delighted the Scottish Government was able to provide an additional £250,000 for the development of the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card. This will make it easier for people to shop locally and support businesses in their towns and communities.”
People across the country are being urged to spend using the Scotland Loves Local Gift Card, ensuring the money they spend stays local for longer by directly supporting shops, attractions and jobs in the area. Businesses and charities are also being encouraged to use them as rewards. You can find out more about the cards here.