THE SDLP’s Sinéad McLaughlin has urged consumers to use their £100 High Street Vouchers to support local independent traders.
Speaking on Monday in the Assembly, the Foyle MLA said: “Our independent locally owned retailers and hospitality businesses are on their knees.
“While the big supermarket chains survived without losing turnover – in fact, many increased their takings – it was the small independents that have been in crisis throughout the pandemic, and still are today.
“Despite the support from rates relief and furlough, I can tell you that many, many local businesses have been contacting my office in dire situations.
“Some business owners have been crying as they told me they couldn’t afford to keep paying staff who have been loyal to them for year after year.
“I am now pleading with consumers to show that loyalty in their use of the new £100 High Street Vouchers, spending them in our independent locally owned businesses.
“We need these independent traders today and we need them in the future.”
Mrs McLaughlin, the SDLP’s economy spokesperson, added that both Derry city centre and the Waterside’s Spencer Road area now have a large number of charity shops, because so many consumers are buying goods online.
She urged shoppers to spurn Amazon and shop local, both for the long term and with their High Street Vouchers.