#Support Local campaign: Scotsman urges people to buy from neighbourhood shops and businesses – leader comment

During the Covid lockdown, many people have come to appreciate the value of local businesses, which are the bedrock of Scotland’s economy. Now they need our help

The Chinese Manor House restaurant in Corstorphine has been providing free meals to NHS staff at the Western General Hospital during the coronavirus outbreak (Picture: Neil Hanna)
The Chinese Manor House restaurant in Corstorphine has been providing free meals to NHS staff at the Western General Hospital during the coronavirus outbreak (Picture: Neil Hanna)

During the coronavirus lockdown, many people have developed a greater appreciation of the importance of small, local businesses.

This was, in part, because they were unable to pop out to a local shop, visit a nearby hairdresser and so on. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and also reminds us of things we may have taken a little bit for granted.

Lockdown has also increased awareness of just how important small businesses are to the Scottish economy.

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According to the Businesses in Scotland 2019 report, there were more than 350,000 small and medium-sized enterprises in Scotland, providing some 1.2 million jobs. In a country with a population of about 5.5 million, that makes those firms absolutely vital to the livelihoods of many, many families.

Simply on the basis of their close proximity to their customers, they are more likely than more distant rivals to listen carefully to complaints and fix any problems, and also to go beyond the call of commercial duty and do something kind for their community – like the Chinese Manor House restaurant in Corstorphine, which delivered free meals for NHS staff at the Western General Hospital in Edinburgh as they worked to save lives in the pandemic. Restaurant owner Katherine Hau explained: “The NHS is the most important organisation at this time. They work tirelessly, many of them giving up their holidays and their family time. What they’re doing is very honourable.”

The Scotsman’s #supportlocal campaign is designed to encourage everyone to think about the businesses they value in their area and to do what they can to help them through an extremely difficult time.

For the harsh truth is that some firms may struggle to survive the current economic crisis unless they receive custom to replace at least some of the sales lost during lockdown.

If they do not, we could find that Scotland is a very different country to the one that existed before coronavirus arrived and that the ‘new normal’ is one where local businesses are less common and unemployment rises to a persistently high level.

So, it is in all our interests to think carefully when considering how best to spend our money.

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