Now we’re into December, I’d like to wish readers a happy Hanukkah and Advent, as both started in the past week.
And as we start to prepare for holiday celebrations, buying food and presents, let’s not forget our smaller neighbourhood shops and suppliers.
Yesterday (Saturday 4 December) was Small Business Saturday. In the age of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, it’s all too easy just to click online to a giant multinational to get your whole present list sorted.
Unfortunately, wealth generated by local people working for or buying from giant national or global retailers and businesses often does not stay in our communities.
Instead, it is extracted by distant shareholders as profits and dividends. Worse, it often ends up offshore, in tax havens.
However, having always had a creative and entrepreneurial edge in our city, we’re fortunate to have many small independent businesses – shops, restaurants, artists, builders, scaffolders … the list is endless. And our local businesses need our support.
We need to rebuild the connection between local people and the independent businesses that create wealth.
We know that locally owned or socially minded enterprises are more likely to employ, buy and invest locally.
This means that rather than taking the wealth from our city they contribute to local economic development.
Buying locally is more sustainable in reducing carbon output too, as independently owned businesses use more local suppliers, requiring less transportation and packaging.
For this reason, a programme of community wealth building seeks to promote locally owned and socially minded business, and we can all help by buying local.
Our local businesses do so much to enrich our lives and communities, while facing huge adversity in the past year.
They are struggling right now, with business rate problems and supply chain issues increasing pressure and costs.
So maybe think twice before buying from a global giant this year. Instead consider our local independent businesses, what they give to our community and what a fantastic range of goods and services are available to you in your home city.
Councillor John Allcock is the joint Labour opposition leader on Brighton and Hove City Council.