Saturday 3rd December is Small Business Saturday, the annual campaign day promoting the importance of small businesses and encouraging consumers to support them. Now in its tenth year in the UK, the campaign been hugely beneficial for many small businesses across the country over the years.

As well as encouraging people to shop local in the crucial festive period, it also seeks to achieve long term results for SMEs. I am delighted to help promote the day again this year and encourage East Lothian residents to continue shopping locally and supporting our brilliant local businesses, either in-person or online.

Find out more about the campaign at

After the difficulties experienced through the pandemic, many small businesses now find themselves struggling with soaring energy costs and rising inflation. One great way of helping local businesses is by purchasing an East Lothian Gift Card, one of the best-selling area cards in the UK. They can be bought online and can only be spent at East Lothian businesses signed up to the scheme.

As the cost-of-living crisis continues to bite and household budgets are squeezed, the spending power of consumers is an important related economic issue. New research released for Living Wage Week showed that if just a quarter of Scotland’s low-paid workers were given a pay rise to the real Living Wage it could provide an extra £114m boost to the economy.

All the evidence points to paying the real Living Wage being the single most important thing employers can do to support staff with rising living costs. Employers also reap the benefits in terms of better recruitment and retention, less sickness absence and a more motivated workforce.  Around 221,000 workers in Scotland currently earn below the real Living Wage, demonstrating the scale of the difference that could be made if more workplaces adopt it.

Further information about the benefits of the real Living Wage can be found at