SHOPPERS in Dumbarton and the Vale are being reminded to support their local businesses in the New Year.

January can be one of the toughest times after the festive rush and business leaders said there was a danger of closures.

A survey by Notonthehighstreet found 28 per cent of smaller firms in Scotland feared going under if they had "below average" Christmas trading.

Damon Scott, chief executive of Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce said the festive period was key in particular for the retail and hospitality sectors.

He said: "It has always been the case that retail is heavily dependent on the festive trade but this has become even more pronounced in recent years with the continued squeeze on the high street and competition online.

"Local customers are the life-blood of town centres and the Chamber is keen to support any strategies that help position local businesses' to appeal to this market.

"We recently launched our own trade local programme, 'D-Biz', to encourage and support our members and other Dunbartonshire businesses to prioritise local suppliers over others and plan to roll this out further in the new year."

Scotland's Town Partnership (STP) said shopping locally was essential for the regeneration of town centres, such as those in Dumbarton and the Vale.

Chief officer Phil Prentice said: "Our town centres and our local businesses aren’t just another shop or service, they are part of our communities. They are our brothers, sisters, neighbours and colleagues.

"They provide invaluable opportunities for our children and our older people to mix and socialise.

"If we want to have thriving integrated communities in Scotland, then we have to support our town centres by thinking local.

“The question is what the future holds for our towns in the context of the decline in some of the major industries of the past. A closer look, however, highlights that the spirit of reinvention is very much alive.

“Our towns are now offering an experience that cannot be replicated online."