Murdo Fraser calls on Scottish Government to help rescue our High Streets

Scottish Conservative and Unionist MSP Murdo Fraser is calling on the Scottish Government to set out a plan to rescue High Streets in Mid Scotland and Fife.

The politicians are backing the party’s calls for a Town Centre Coronavirus Plan to help stop closures and bankruptcies in towns right across the country.

Key industries such as hospitality, tourism and retail are all warning thousands of jobs could be lost in the coming months, due to the slump in demand and continued social distancing measures.

The Scottish Conservatives are calling on the Scottish Government to consider measures as part of the action plan including:

  • A major ‘buy local campaign organised by the Scottish Government urging Scots to back local High Streets.

  • Law changes relaxing rules on pavement eating and drinking.

  • Temporary scrapping of parking charges to encourage shoppers to come out.

  • Introduction of scrapping schemes to boost spending.

  • Review of the 2-metre rule in social distancing.

Mr Fraser has highlighted research from support charity Social Investment Business and journalism website Tortoise, showing spending data from debit cards in Scotland has fallen by 37% overall, only offset somewhat by a rise in grocery spending.

The situation in Pitlochry and Aberfeldy was even worse, with spending falling by 45% since the end of March when compared with last year.

Commenting, Mr Fraser said: "The Scottish Government must use their powers to act now to save our High Streets, instead of simply blaming Westminster if things go wrong.

“Without radical action, we risk plunging Scotland into the deepest economic depression of modern times which will leave lasting and incalculable damage on the life changes of the young and the poorest in our society.

“As we ease lockdown measures hopefully in the coming weeks, I will certainly be encouraging everyone in Mid Scotland and Fife to buy local.”

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