'Offline' shopping plea

People are being encouraged to shop local this Christmas to help support local businesses.

Buckinghamshire Council says taking holiday shopping ‘offline’ can have positive benefits – from lowering your carbon footprint to saving money.

Gareth Williams, who deals with planning and regeneration, said: ‘I’d encourage people to shop offline this year and to support their nearby high streets and town centres.

‘Where you shop matters and choosing local doesn’t only mean more unique options for gifting and celebrating but also helps to support the amazing work the owners of Buckinghamshire’s businesses are doing.’

Ranging from local independent businesses to much-loved brands and stylish bars and restaurants, the county’s high streets have something for everyone.

Shopping locally doesn’t just help the environment – it also saves and creates jobs and helps to support Buckinghamshire’s economy.

Independent small businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic and many have struggled to keep afloat. Buying from a small business or dining in a local restaurant are ways to show support and allows local retailers to continue using nearby or smaller suppliers.

Research by local authorities shows that for every £1 spent with a small or medium-sized business, 63p stays within the local economy, compared to 40p for a larger business.

Adding to this, a healthier, booming high street increases the value of local properties in the long run – benefiting residents and shoppers.

Jocelyn Towns, who specialises in town centre regeneration, added: Our ‘Shop Local This Christmas’ campaign is drawing on the government’s ‘Welcome Back Fund’ which has been provided to help us encourage footfall into our towns.’

Taking shopping offline and shopping in person can also help people avoid the additional packaging and pollution caused by delivery companies, making Christmas greener, says the council.

To encourage local Christmas shopping, the council is offering free car parking on selected dates and times.