Small Business Saturday: As cost-of-living crisis rages, it's never been more important to 'shop local' – Cammy Day

With the spotlight, rightly, on the human rights violations in Qatar and the horrific murders in Colorado Springs this week, I want to begin by offering my full solidarity to the LGBTQ+ community across the world.

People should shop local if they want to support their neighbourhood small businesses (Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)
People should shop local if they want to support their neighbourhood small businesses (Picture: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Protecting the rights and safety of all members of society is at the heart of what we do, and last week I was privileged to sign up as an ambassador to White Ribbon Scotland, which involves men in tackling violence against women. As we mark 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, it’s essential that we all, though in particular men, stand up and speak out, and I’ll be working to spread White Ribbon Scotland’s messages across the city and beyond.

As a council, we work hard to deliver services that help improve the lives of everyone across the Capital. Some of these unsung heroes are carers. As we all gave pause to offer our thanks at Carers Rights Day last week, I want to extend my thanks to the fantastic work that carers and organisations who support carers and their families do, day after day.

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If you tuned into the council meeting on Thursday, you will have heard of the powerful and deeply moving deputation from Terry and Robin, from the website Care Leaver Offer, who talked about the lived experience of those in care. As a corporate parent, our role is to help every child in Edinburgh to live a happy, safe and fulfilling life. I’m proud to say that, following councillors’ backing, we are now set to become Scotland’s first council to adopt ‘care experienced’ as a protected characteristic.

Celebrating our business community

This Saturday, 3 December, we’ll be celebrating Small Business Saturday. This annual event, now in its tenth year, is a grassroots, non-commercial campaign that encourages consumers to 'shop local' and support small businesses in their neighbourhood.

Here in the Capital, small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities and our economy. From cafes to chemists, florists to fishmongers, and beyond, these small enterprises represent the very best of our city and it’s right that we do everything we can to contribute to their success.

We also want to make it as easy as possible for residents to access local businesses using public transport and our expanding active travel routes. This support is more important than ever given the uncertain economic times we’re experiencing, with many businesses struggling with rising inflation and costs.

I was heartened to see the recognition of the work by the Edinburgh Living Wage Action Group at the Scottish Living Wage Awards recently, winning the Outstanding Leadership Award. More than 580 businesses in Edinburgh are now accredited as ‘Living Wage employers’, a number higher than any other city in Scotland.

Since the launch of the action group, Edinburgh has seen a record-breaking increase in new accreditations with close to 120 more employers committing to pay a real living wage and giving guaranteed direct pay rises to 1,400 workers in the city.

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I’d encourage you all to visit and support small businesses in your local community, not only this Small Business Saturday but all year round.

Cammy Day is the leader of Edinburgh City Council and its Labour group