LISTEN: Phil Prentice talks about why locals love high streets
The Scottish Town’s Partnership’s most recent study finds that two-thirds of people living in Mid Scotland and Fife always support shops on their local high street.
Their findings come as part of the ‘Scotland loves local’ campaign which aims to celebrate Scotland’s town’s and villages high streets after the shutdown.
Phil Prentice, Chief Officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership, said: “The positive power of people across the region supporting their high street should not be underestimated.
“Every pound spent locally flips six times in the area’s economy, so the knock-on effect is significant. Thinking local first protects jobs, helps the environment and helps make our communities better places to live.
“Our polling highlights how the community pride and the spirit of localism we’ve seen throughout the pandemic has strengthened support for town centres. As we all live more of our lives locally we must embrace this to ensure that stronger, more sustainable town centres are the beating heart of the future in Mid Scotland and Fife.”
Mr Prentice explains that in the ‘Heartlands area’s the figures are very, very, positive’, even though ‘it might cost a wee bit more than going online, but it’s the right thing to do.”
92% of respondents from Highland Perthshire believe that the there is a strong chance that many businesses on the local high street will go bust if people don’t support them.
A further 89% say it’s vital that people in their community support businesses on their local high streets, while 67% of people will always shop on their local high street rather than going further afield, whenever they can do so.
‘Think local first’ is what Mr Prentice describes as ‘the easiest way to help the local economy.’
He says that every pound spent into the local economy flips six times, he says: “The dairy farmer who’s repurposed his business to support domestic delivery has taken on two delivery drivers. That’s new employment.
“The delivery driver brings the milk and butter and eggs down to the local grocers, who’s able to maintain the young guy who helps out. He gets paid and he takes it down to the local hair dresser to get a hair cut.
“He then meets the hairdresser later for a coffee across the other side of the street and then they go to the local pub later.
“That pound has flipped around the local economy six times, the pound that you spend on Amazon disappears into the ether.”
For Andrew McRae, policy chair at the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland, ‘successful independent shops have long been synonymous with successful local places.’
Scotland Loves local is looking for grassroot support ‘for people to support their local economies and fuel the nation’s financial fightback from Covid-19’ within all the necessary public health guidelines.
Mr McRea continued: “That’s why nine in 10 people in Scotland believe that their community should support retailers and other businesses in their town or on the high street. They know that, if they want to live in a strong, successful community, they need their local firms to thrive.
“But everyone understands that times are tough for many local operators. That’s why we need decision-makers and the general public to provide custom and support for these vital enterprises.
“So, it doesn’t matter if you’re nipping out for the rolls and papers, looking for that special present, or just getting something in for the family tea, we’d urge people in Scotland to buy local wherever possible.”