Scottish Border Conservatives have launched a ‘Town Centre Revival Plan’ which seeks to turn around the fortunes of struggling Border towns.
With the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions easing, the set of practical policies are aimed to drive economic growth and help support our town centres.
Town centres have seen numerous setbacks over recent years and the economic damage caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has compounded this further.
Measures in the Scottish Conservative proposals include supporting local businesses to upscale and receive training to help launch an online platform, launching a shop local campaign and working with traders to create a ‘voucher’ wallet, fast-tracking relaxation of planning & licensing laws to create seasonal ‘open markets and making town centres attractive for shoppers and visitors by utilising vacant shops and encouraging young people to share pop-up shop space.
Over the next few months, Rachael Hamilton MSP, John Lamont MP, Michelle Ballantyne MSP and Conservative Borders’ councillors will be engaging with local business groups to get their feedback on their proposals.
It comes after the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that the unemployment rate in the Borders has increased 117% cent in a year, rocketing from 1,725 in May 2019 to 3,745 last month.
Earlier this week, the Scottish Conservatives called on the SNP government to give businesses further help with long-term reductions in business rates, including reducing the large business supplement. Despite the easing of lockdown all businesses have had to adapt to the new, costly, regulations in order to keep staff and customers safe.
In light of rising unemployment and businesses entering administration, Mrs Hamilton, Mr Lamont and Conservative Borders councillors agreed on a draft plan to mitigate against the worst of the economic impact.