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Buy local, urges MSP

MSP Finlay Carson

SCOTLAND is moving to Phase II of the roadmap to emerging from Coronavirus lockdown but getting things back to normal is a huge task. MSP Finlay Carson is calling for a detailed plan to rescue high streets across Dumfries and Galloway as figures show spending in Stranraer town centre has slumped by 20pc. The MSP is backing calls for a Town Centre Coronavirus Plan to help stop closures and bankruptcies. 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 SNP 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. Introduction of scrappage schemes to boost spending. Review of the two-metre rule in social distancing. Mr Carson has highlighted research from support charity Social Investment Business and journalism website Tortoise, showing spending data from debit cards in Scotland has fallen by 37pc overall, only offset somewhat by a rise in grocery spending. In Dalbeattie and Castle Douglas spending has slumped by 40 per cent since the end of March when compared with last year, while in Dumfries it is down by over a quarter and in Stranraer by over 20 per cent. Said Mr Carson said: “There is no doubt that we are now facing an economic emergency, on top of the Covid-19 health emergency. “Every decision people take in Galloway and West Dumfries over the coming weeks, from spending money in local stores, supporting locally run cafes, and paying for local traders to fix household appliances, might be the difference between people joining the job queue at Christmas, or staying on track to further their career. “Town centres in Galloway and West Dumfries have been badly hit in recent months and the SNP Government needs to lead the way in coming up with a rescue plan for our town centres. “Measures such as encouraging everyone to buy local, relaxing laws on outdoor eating and drinking, and an on-going review of the 2 metre social distancing review are just some of the ways the SNP Government could give our high streets a boost. “The SNP 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 Galloway and West Dumfries to buy local.”

<< back Published: 18 Jun 2020, 13:36

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