Rachael Hamilton MSP visited local shops and businesses in and around Kelso to mark Small Business Saturday.
Ms Hamilton visited Swan Shoes, Seasons Café and Balloons, Tony Huggins-Haig Gallery, Hendersyde Self-Catering Farm Cottages and Lettica of Eckford.
The shopkeepers and local business owners raised various concerns in the run up to Small Business Saturday.
Local shops and businesses highlighted the need to attract more visitors to Kelso, tackle the skills gap, improve the provision of on-street parking and review business rates.
The visits coincide not only with Small Business Saturday, but also with the Scottish Conservatives campaign to ‘Save Our High Streets’. The campaign calls on the Scottish Government to support local communities and prevent vacant premises on our high streets.
Further to these visits, Ms Hamilton raised these concerns at First Minister’s Questions on Thursday and urged the Scottish Government to ditch its high tax agenda and support the high street.
Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire MSP, Rachael Hamilton said:
“Small businesses are the backbone of the Borders economy, and they provide an eclectic mix of independent shops makes for a vibrant high street.
“From Swan Shoes to Hendersyde Cottages, it was fantastic to meet with local businessmen and women to discuss what matters to them.
“Hearing the concerns of small businesses during my visits was important, and I plan to raise these issues in the Chamber in Holyrood. Whether it is the skills gap in the Borders, to the need for attracting more visitors to our town centres, we should all shop locally to support our small businesses.
“The SNP’s high tax agenda punishes the high street. I urged Nicola Sturgeon to drop this agenda during First Minister's Questions on Thursday. Businesses should be given the means to thrive and we have seen a complete lack of action from the SNP Government on this front.