Council looks to keep it local

TOWN councillors are looking to keep it local in a new buying policy.

Members of Morpeth Town Council are considering a proposal to ensure the authority buys goods and services from local, independent shops wherever possible.

The council already tries to use local contractors and has a Fairtrade buying policy in place, but Coun Nic Best has called for more support to be shown to town businesses.

“I am asking the council to consider having a policy prepared to say it should use local shops and produce,” he said.

“We are already committed to Fairtrade, this is another policy that where possible we should be looking to support local shops and businesses in our town, rather than chain shops.

“I understand that there are financial implications of that, but I think it is something we should consider.

“Although we may already do it informally, I think it would be a good idea to have some form of policy.”

Councillors were told that it may cost more and take up more staff time if the policy was adopted, but they agreed that a draft document should be drawn up, setting out the full implications, to consider at a future meeting.

Coun Derek Thompson also called for rate relief to be granted to any struggling businesses in the town. He was told that businesses can apply for relief from Northumberland County Council.