States CEO leads by example in ‘support local’ campaign
LOCAL businesses are seeing an upturn in trade in the wake of the States’ ‘support local’ campaign and the message is to keep it going.
Islanders have continued to support businesses by buying local, chief executive Paul Whitfield said – and some have been able to reduce their reliance on States help.
Although some sectors are still struggling, the States has seen fewer businesses applying for the payroll co-funding scheme, for either 80% or 100% of the minimum wage for employees depending on the extent to which the operation is impacted.
Mr Whitfield declared the campaign a success but urged islanders to carry on.
‘People have really taken on board our message to support buying local and keeping businesses open by venturing out to the shops or taking advantage of the staycation campaign we launched,’ he said.
‘We’ve seen the amount of people applying for the payroll co-funding scheme reduce, predominantly based on retail trade and the high street, and that’s a really good start as it shows things have been picking up and people have been visiting them and buying from them.
‘It’s the true spirit of Guernsey Together and it’s really important because every sector has been hit really hard and they need every one of us to back them and it benefits each and every one of us. It’s our economy that we’re supporting.’
Unemployment figures trebled over the course of lockdown to 1,631 and most businesses experienced a massive drop in revenue, or no revenue at all.
Now that things were looking up, Mr Whitfield said he wanted people to keep up the good work.
He emphasised it was a collective effort, adding that he was also part of that Guernsey Together spirit that supported businesses.
He said he had taken two staycations and had visited Herm.
‘Feedback has been really good and businesses have been really appreciative of the campaign and its aim,’ Mr Whitfield said.
‘I’ve been out and seen more places opening up and that’s been great to see.
‘I think we’re more conscious now of each other and what our custom does for one another. At first it was slow and people didn’t rush out immediately, especially as we still had social distancing and queue systems in place, but it’s really picked up now.
‘Obviously, there are some industries that are still suffering, such as taxis and restaurants and hotels, but we continue to look at how we can help. There’s some way to go yet, but things are improving.’