Martin Whitfield MSP has tabled a parliamentary motion highlighting analysis which shows that East Lothian’s high streets reported the best performance in the UK through the pandemic and lockdown.

Published by the Financial Times, the analysis of data collected from retailers across the UK found shops in East Lothian reported a total 12 per cent rise in in-person spending since March 2020, putting them top of the overall ranking.

Mr Whitfield’s motion congratulates local high streets on their success, thanks local residents for supporting shops in their locality and praises East Lothian Council for the support and advice it has provided to businesses before and during the pandemic.

Commenting, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“This analysis is really positive news for East Lothian. It underlines the great resilience, adaptability and innovation of our high streets and how well retailers have responded to the unprecedented challenges they have faced since March 2020.

“It also shows that local people have heeded the shop local message and supported retailers in their areas. This success was in part due to hard work undertaken by businesses, communities and the Council pre-Covid, such as the launch of the East Lothian Gift Card in 2018.

“The growth in sales retailers have experienced as a result of lockdown and homeworking also gives them something to build on and I hope they’ll see continued success during the recovery period.”

The full motion is as follows:

That the Parliament notes the recent Financial Times analysis of data on how lockdowns and homeworking over the past two years have affected high streets across the UK; understands that the analysis found that the East Lothian local authority area has had the best performance in the UK, with shops reporting a 12% rise in in-person spending across the whole period, since March 2020; congratulates and thanks East Lothian’s high-street retailers on this success and what it sees as the resilience and innovation they have shown throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, and further congratulates East Lothian residents for heeding the shop local message and for supporting local high streets and businesses over the last two years, and East Lothian Council for what it sees as the advice and support it has provided to businesses in the county before and during the pandemic, including the pioneering East Lothian Gift Card, which was launched in 2018.