Buying local can mean buying anything from meat and chutney sold at a farmers market in Wrexham to jewellery handmade in Orkney or bread produced in a factory in Lancashire. When we purchase goods, sometimes we don’t think about the consequences of where we choose to spend our money, but supporting UK businesses has far-reaching impacts on communities in the UK.
Support Local Jobs
If you purchase goods made in the UK, you help to create and support existing jobs for local workers. Very often, local makers and producers are small businesses; at the start of 2018, there were 5.6 million small businesses in the UK (fsb.org.uk). By buying local, you not only ensure their viability and sustainability but also help to stimulate economic growth across the UK by providing employment opportunities. For example, purchasing groceries at a local farmers market rather than a supermarket means that the local producers will have more funds to invest in and grow their businesses, creating employment opportunities for locals.
Investment in Manufacturing & Local Industries
When we buy goods, often we don’t stop to consider where they have been made and what our choice means. Choosing locally made goods means supporting a local manufacturing environment and the jobs it provides; UK manufacturing currently employs 2.7 million people (Make UK).
Retain & Develop Skills
With increased investment in local manufacturing comes the opportunity to retain the knowledge and skills associated with manufacturing specialist products. Certain areas of the UK are renowned for specialising in producing certain goods such as Northampton for shoes, the Highlands for whisky and Birmingham for jewellery. Other traditions have been re-established after 60 years of inactivity such as the art of making blue glass.
Better Public Services
Local businesses pay local taxes. This means better public services such as schools, transportation, emergency services and social care for you and your family.
Control of Waste Disposal
The UK has stricter guidelines for waste disposal than many of the countries we source goods from. Ensuring that dyes, chemicals and packaging are properly disposed of is vital for protecting our environment.
Reducing Your Carbon Footprint
In 2017, the New York Post reported that the fashion industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than international flights and shipping combined. Whilst it is important to take into account factors such as raw material, production of fabric and manufacturing technology, purchasing locally made goods reduces your impact on the environment as the goods require very little transportation and packaging. The footprint of the producer is also likely to be much lower as manufacturing goods on a small scale contributes less to urban sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution. The brands on YouK with a high score for using local input materials have an even lower footprint.
Choosing local brands helps to support the environment, UK workers, and our public services. Every brand or product featured on YouK contributes to the UK in this way.