New West Lothian gift card to encourage shopping local as area looks to bounce back from pandemic

A new West Lothian gift card is set to encourage more people to support local businesses, after councillors approved the scheme.

Executive councillor for Development and Transport, Cathy Muldoon.

West Lothian Council’s Executive has approved plans to create a specific gift card for use in West Lothian launching later in the year, with the aim of helping local business within our towns, town centres and communities recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Research shows that two-thirds of the money spent in shops and services in the local economy is then re-spent locally, meaning more money spent in West Lothian will protect the economy and jobs and allow West Lothian to recover faster.

There is also evidence from gift card schemes that indicate that recipients of a gift card, their spending using such cards is up to an additional 65 per cent over its actual value.

The scheme is part of the Scotland Loves Local national gift card campaign, with support from the Scottish Government and Scotland’s Towns Partnership towards the initial costs of getting the scheme up and running.

Executive councillor for development and transport Cathy Muldoon said: “I am delighted to support plans to create a new West Lothian-only gift card. It’s a great way for everyone to think local first, to show their support for local and national businesses. who are located here, and ensure their money is spent where it benefits us all the most.

“Covid-19 has had a huge impact on businesses all over Scotland, including many in West Lothian.

"This scheme is a positive step forward to help local businesses bounce back from the challenges of the last 15 months, protecting jobs and supporting our local communities.

“I’m sure it will prove popular with local businesses and residents alike, making it not only a great gift for friends and family, but also an investment in the local community.”

Meanwhile, additional funding has been put in place to provide more countryside rangers for the summer months. NatureScot, formerly Scottish Natural Heritage, hopes to hire four assistant rangers and two additional staff to help deal with the increased visitor numbers expected over the next few months at the county’s county parks and other hotspots.