MORE than half of Scots always support shops on their local high street, a new study has found. And there is growing recognition that people need to get behind their town centres if businesses are to survive the Covid-19 pandemic and thrive beyond it.

The findings have emerged from a poll of more than 1000 adults commissioned by Scotland’s Towns Partnership for the Scotland Loves Local campaign. It found that 56% of people will always shop on their local high street rather than going further afield, whenever they can do so.

A total of 93% of those surveyed believe there is a strong chance that many high street businesses will go bust if people don’t support them. Almost 90% said it’s vital that people support these businesses.

The results have been welcomed as a signal of the strong support for Scotland’s high streets – highlighting the importance of people thinking local first and using businesses in their community, while following Scottish Government public health guidance.

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Phil Prentice, chief officer of Scotland’s Towns Partnership said: “The positive power of people 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 for us all. Thinking local first protects jobs, is better for 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 a fairer, better Scotland.”

Scotland Loves Local, a major multimedia campaign spearheaded by Scotland’s Towns Partnership with the support of the Scottish Government, is the national drive for people to support their local economies and fuel the nation’s financial fightback from Covid-19 from its grassroots.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell said: “There has never been a more important time to consider supporting local businesses whether by visiting your local town centre or sampling what local digital businesses have to offer.

“We all have a part to play in Scotland’s economic recovery and can do so, while we look out for one another and follow the FACTS guidance.”

Scotland Loves Local is supported by organisations including the Federation of Small Businesses in Scotland (FSB). Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chair, said: “Successful independent shops have long been synonymous with successful local places.

“That’s why nine in 10 people in Scotland believe 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.”

The polling was carried out by Mark Diffley Consultancy and Research.