Our local shops, cafés and other businesses are right at the heart of our local communities. They provide a wide range of services and amenities.

They often offer a personal touch that you don’t generally see when shopping online or in the big retail stores.

With many businesses facing financial difficulty during this year’s pandemic, support for our high street retailers has never been more important.

I was was delighted to be involved in Labour’s shop local campaign recently. It was a great opportunity to support and promote local shops.

As well as working to publicise and support local businesses, Labour also organised a meeting for local business owners to discuss their concerns with Bolton Labour leader, Councillor Nick Peel and national Labour spokesperson Bridget Phillipson.

It seems clear that our local shops and businesses will need more support from the government to help them survive.

Steps could include adjustments to business rates along with an extension of the furlough scheme.

Shopping locally not only supports local businesses, it’s good for the local community, the economy and the environment. I would urge all readers to support our local high streets and where possible shop local.

Joan Pritchard-Jones