NOW that we are in a further lockdown and on the approach to Christmas, it is essential we all reflect on the difference we can make to our own community by supporting our local businesses.

Of course, the ease of shopping online for all our needs is convenient for many of us, but it is essential to remember that every pound spent by people supporting our local shops and services - whether in-store or digitally - stays local for longer.

The signs are positive that with increasing numbers of people working from home and staying closer to home to help stop the spread of Covid-19, people have a greater appreciation of the businesses in their community.

We are all hoping that this continues, that people realise the benefits of spending locally and keeping their money in the local economy.

By supporting local businesses through the pandemic, we will not just ensure the immediate survival of the businesses around us, but lay even firmer foundations for stronger, more sustainable, town centres for the future.

We all know how special and unique our markets and high streets are, so when we do return back to ‘normal’ times, let’s ensure we have all played a part in protecting our local business.

Brian McDaid – Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Skipton and Ripon.