Survey results published last week by Dumfries and Galloway food brand Savour the Flavours which show ‘unprecedented’ levels of support in the region for buying local are very welcome, according to South Scotland Labour MSP Colin Smyth.

1,450 people from every part of Dumfries and Galloway took part in the survey which ran from 2-11 June.

Key findings were:

•          Covid-19 changed how almost everyone shopped for food and drink during lockdown.

•          People shopped less frequently, but much more locally. This was partly driven by necessity.

•          84% said they’d like to buy more local food and drink than they currently do.

•          81% said they’d prioritise ‘local’ in their shopping as lockdown eases, but people generally want ‘buying local’ to be made easier and more convenient.

•          Comments highlighted that people want local businesses to prioritise local communities above the needs of visitors.

•          79% said they were worried about tourism bringing Covid-19 back to D&G.

Colin Smyth said: “This survey is really important in showing the changes the pandemic has brought in terms of our shopping habits in Dumfries and Galloway and I’d like to thank Savour the Flavours for the work they’ve done.

“As many shops across the area are now open again, I would urge everyone to continue to think local and buy from the small firms who went above and beyond for their customers during the pandemic.

“We saw many small businesses and shops stepping up to the mark during lockdown and now that many stores are physically opening their doors again and things are returning to a ‘new normal’, I would hope that local people remember to support those in their local area.

“However, I understand the concerns of the survey participants about restarting Dumfries and Galloway’s visitor economy. This terrible virus is still out there, and as we’ve seen from the recent cluster of Covid-19 infections in the east of the region, localised outbreaks are going to happen more and more across the country in the coming months. The Government and our new South of Scotland Enterprise Agency must do all it can to help local businesses to continue to weather the economic storm which Covid-19 is still wreaking, while at the same time restarting our economy in a safe way.”

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