TRADERS have high hopes for Ealing Council's Spend Local campaign, which is designed to help residents spend their money in the borough in the run-up to Christmas.
The scheme encourages businesses to offer discounts to draw customers to shops in the borough, rather than to Westfield or the West End.
The town hall hopes this will include the £50 cashback council tax-payers will be receiving at the end of the month.
Many traders are positive about the scheme and say it is perfect timing, with the economy still trying to climb out of recession. They include John Richardson, owner of Richardson's Butchers, in South Ealing Road, South Ealing and Northfield Avenue, West Ealing.
The 47-year-old said: "I think it's a fantastic idea. I've never heard of a council giving money back before. We've done a deal with a local wine merchant and are offering a good quality bottle with every turkey ordered before December 15.
"We've never done anything like this before but I'm hopeful it will mean more people shopping in the area - that's really important. There are a lot of small, individual traders, mainly in the secondary shopping parades rather than the main centres. They have a lot to offer but they're the ones who need the support."
Kirit Patel, owner of Hallmark in Greenford Broadway, agreed the scheme is good news. He is offering a three-for-two deal on Christmas wrapping paper and boxes of Christmas cards.
The 48-year-old said: "In these difficult times it's too costly to advertise, so to get publicity from the council is great. It's so important people spend their money here to keep us small businesses going."
But not everybody is so positive. Kashif Ajmal, owner of Burraq restaurant, in Southall Broadway, but currently closed for refurbishment, was offering 10 per cent off meals.
He said: "I think it's a waste of time and money. There are a lot of issues affecting businesses in Southall - business rates are destroying them. And there are a lot of parking problems which the council has tried a few pilot schemes to fix but nothing has come to fruition.
"I don't know whether businesses were consulted about this, we never were, but I think the money could've been put to better use helping businesses directly or with some kind of voucher scheme. Otherwise, there is no guarantee that people will spend their money here. There are so many other day-to-day things that £50 cashback could be spent on."
See www.spendlocal.org.uk for more about the discounts.